Turkey has emerged as a magnet for African migrants as they descend in their thousands on its shores every year in search of a better life.In the past five years, numbers have more than doubled as immigrants from countries like Nigeria, Uganda and Liberia throng to Istanbul – a city that offers the possibility of a steady job, paycheck and a safe living environment.
Istanbul My Dream follows the story of four African migrants who have left their homes in search of social mobility, riches and even stardom.
Musa has come from Nigeria in the unlikely hope of being spotted by football giants Fenerbahce.
“I know someday Africa will be proud of me. I believe in myself because I am a good football player… Everything is possible. I will reach my dream in Istanbul.”
His Liberian coach, Adaquart, fled the country’s bloody civil war and doubles as Musa’s agent, trying to promote African footballers to Turkish clubs.
“Every player that comes from Africa, they dream to go to the top. That’s my dream, to sell them to a club,” he says.
Immy left Ghana and works as a hairdresser under an expired visa. She misses her family back home and struggles to survive in Istanbul.
“I miss my family… all my family. I try my best to give them what they want, so they cannot cry… I love my children. I don’t want to see them when they are suffering. That is why I come here, to work, to find money,” she says.
Ameria Nambala came from Uganda. A singer in the city’s pubs and clubs, she dreams of being the next Shakira.
“If I dance here in Istanbul, I think even America and other countries they can know me.”
As they settle into the busy African-populated district of Kurtulus,we follow their lives as their dreams start to falter and reality sinks in.
Source: Al Jazeera