What Gives Migrants and Refugees Hope?

When we arrived in Melilla, a minuscule Spanish Enclave in Morocco, we were overwhelmed by the stories the Migrants and Refugees told us about their journeys. They had to deal with the scorching African sun, with smugglers, robbers and terrorists, risking their lives just to step on European territory.

Melilla is a forgotten place, only seen in headlines around the world when a swarm of Africans makes it through its razor sharp 6 meter fence. After a long, arduous trip into Europe, they were faced with a dreadful wait  in the Center for Temporary Stay of Migrants, with no guarantees that their asylum petitions would be granted. They were stuck in between two worlds, in a kind of purgatory. Stuck between the memories of their former lives and the dreams and yearnings of what is to come. 

These were ordinary men and women. Fishermen, college students, cooks and athletes who all shared one trait. A will to live, to come out on top in the face of hardships that often goes untold in traditional media.  We as young journalists were saturated by the way refugees are portrayed, being rarely given a voice of their own.  So we decided to ask them "What gives you hope?" and gave them a disposable camera so they could document it.  With the disposable camera, the visual narrative was their own. It was a way of sharing their world view in an intimate way.

Their names have been omitted at their request. 

A project by Maria Contreras Coll and Gonçalo Fonseca