Nanny. Mother. Refugee.
„Children are full of trust, they don’t have prejudices.”
Sophie, 30 years old: “I love working with children because they are so innocent. Everything they do, they do without arrière–pensée (hidden motives). They are more trusting than adults.”
“At the beginning of the school year in September the new children, they always cry when they see me. Some don’t want to touch me, but with time they trust me. Children are not prejudiced. Somebody has to tell them to be prejudiced. I can see some children react the same way their parents react.”
“I contribute to Hungary because I work and I pay taxes. I help children to learn to be open to foreigners and to people who are different.”
“I always try to smile and that surprises people. In Africa if we have problems we laugh. If somebody dies, we cry, but not over little things. Europeans are very emotional and they cry quickly.”
Sophie, 30, fled her native Togo in West Africa to avoid forced female genital mutilation. She and nine other girls fled with the help of a church, and after a circuitous journey, she eventually arrived in Hungary alone.
She was recognized as a refugee in 2004 and has twin boys, aged 10, and a daughter, seven, all born in Hungary. It’s perhaps fitting that she makes her living taking care of children in a state-run kindergarten. She says she has lost all touch with her family in Togo and would like to become a Hungarian citizen – but her application has been rejected twice.
Sophie was smuggled into Europe inside a shipping container. When she sees TV news of tiny, overloaded migrant boats sinking in the Mediterranean, she says “I think I am so lucky.”
As xenophobia increases in Hungary, Sophie says she would like Hungarians to understand that “refugees are not criminals, but people like them. We don’t come to disturb their country.”
Refugees. Ordinary people living through extraordinary times. Share their stories.
“I am very much into Hungary.”
“We want to live here, that’s why we opened our restaurant.”
“I want to play well for this country.”