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.
Mamadou (17) was born in Guinea Bissau. He lost his father when he was a little child so his mother decided to move to The Gambia where they used to live. In The Gambia he discovered a passion for athletics and particularly for running. When his mother disappeared in 2015, probably kidnapped or killed, he decided to leave The Gambia. When Mamadou arrived on 30 March 2016 in Italy, he was very weak because of the journey. He says: 'I abandoned The Gambia and my passions, looking for a safe place. Today running helps me in healing the pain for the loss of my mother.' Two months later, after having recovered, he started to talk about his passion for running again and he started training on his own. Today, Mamadou dreams to join an Italian athletics team and become a professional runner.