In the first five months of 2016, more than 33,000 migrants made the perilous journey from the shores of north Africa to Italy. Of these, at least 5300 were unaccompanied minors (UAM). Photographer Chris de Bode met with nine UAMs living in shelters in Milan and Sicily and worked with them to capture, not their despair, but their dreams in images that represented their journeys and their hopes for their futures.
Brahim (17), from Rachid, Egypt, is a deaf mute, and talks with sign language and smiles almost constantly. His mother, father and two of his brothers are still in Egypt but his older brother lives in Italy as well.
'I came to Italy in January of 2015. I left from Alexandria to Sicily, I was on the boat for about 6 or 7 days, with about three hundred others. There were even mothers with babies. Yes, I was scared, the boat was dancing on the water. Because of the salt on my skin and the sun, I got burned pretty hard. First there was a helicopter that circled us, after that a boat came and they picked us up. In Sicily I was registered, but they just gave me a number and took my name and a photo. That was it, no fingerprints or anything else. I left for my brother in Vicenza, but after a while we got in a fight. He threw a plate at me and I got severely injured at my head. So I left and came to Milan. I go to school here. First I attended a regular school, but I couldn't follow the lessons because I talk through sign language. So now I'm going to a special school. I'm very glad to be here. I want to work at the fish market, to check if the fish is ok and of good quality. At the shelter, I followed a workshop in video making. In the video, which is like a modern satire, I show people my story and I show what it's like under the military regime in Egypt. Apparently they like it, because I won a prize in a competition. I'm very proud of it!'