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.
Alasan (16), from The Gambia, says he would like to be a computer hacker 'But a good one, not the bad kind.' He describes his life in the Gambia and journey to Italy: 'I'm from a small village in the Central River Region. I still know the exact date I left the house: it was on the 5th of February 2015. I've been on the road for well over a year.
Both my parents died a long time ago, so I stayed with my uncle. He wanted me to go to a religious school and study two days a week, but I didn't want to do it. I wanted to study in school where you get all kinds of subjects. After I stood up to my uncle, he stopped paying for my normal lessons and wanted me to study religion full time. He was angry with me and threatened to beat me many times. One day, and I'm not proud of this, I stole money from him, left home and went on my trip. It was the first time I've done such a thing and I'm quite ashamed. I went to Senegal, Mali, Burkina and Niger, and then I went into Libya. When I got there, I was out of money so I had to work. I was in Sabha, one of the most dangerous towns of the country. First I worked for a nice man and I was able to save some money. But at one point, the man didn't have work for me any more and I had to go looking for work. You go out in the streets and hope somebody picks you up for a day's work. Many Africans do it. But the police came and took us straight to prison, because we were illegal. I was in prison for almost six months, and we got beaten almost every day. When you go out of the cell to eat, they beat you and they kept beating. A brot