Primary tabs

4,831 kmfrom home
"I love the Netherlands, but I always said that if possible I would return to Gambia."
Current Country: 
Country of Origin: 

Share this story:

It's summer 2013 and Mawdo is on his way to Groningen, not far from the border with Germany. He is travelling through a taut parceled landscape of meadows and water. He had left Senegal, where he was forced to take refuge as a journalist from Gambia. But even there he was no longer safe. 

Earlier that year an article he worked on had been published on the front page of the Gambian Newspaper Foroyaa; a story about the disappearances of journalists and politicians who opposed the regime of President Jammeh.  

Mawdo had been hassled as a journalist before, but after this article his life was at stake. He had to flee. His wife and two-year-old daughter stayed behind. 

A year after his arrival in the Netherlands he received a residence permit, and one year later he was reunited with his family.  

Then somehing special happened at the end of 2016. After more than twenty years Gambia elected a new president. For a moment there was the threat of a civil war, because Jammeh did not want to give up power, but this was averted by international pressure.  

Jammeh disappears from the scene and Adama Barrow becomes the new leader.

"On his first day in office he spoke about the freedom of speech," Mawdo says. 

Mawdo then decided to go back with the help of IOM. It is safe for him now and he has a strong desire to further contribute to the development of his country as a journalist.

"I love the Netherlands, but I always said that if possible I would return to Gambia."  

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s):