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Abdelhay Chaqir, Morocco to Italy

Abdelhay Chaqir, Morocco to Italy
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I was born in Rabat in Morocco.

My mother had a difficult relationship with my father. When I was 11 years old, the judge at the divorce tribunal gave custody of my big brother and me to my father.

My mother decided to leave the country.

My brother and I decided to follow my mother, although we didn’t really understand what we were doing. My brother prepared two backpacks. We didn’t have any documents.

We were very lucky; we met an Italian truck driver. By coincidence my brother was wearing an original Maradona Napoli football jersey, which my father bought in the 1990s.

We traded the shirt to get a ride across the border. He had his shirt and we were in Europe.

My mother was extremely upset, but eventually all that settled down. Because we were with her, we could now get a state permit; this allowed us to go back to school and study.

My integration was forced by my situation. I started playing football in school near Milan. I think that sport is a way to pull down barriers and build trust with other people.

Thanks to our mother, we have kept our Moroccan culture but, at the same time, we added another culture into our backgrounds.

I didn’t have many problems integrating into a job. I am now working for a communications company in Milan.

I met a girl who also had a very similar experience; this makes us closer. She is a migrant here too. This is my hope for the world: that different people with different experience can move around and meet and mix with one another.

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