Surviving Trauma: Journey From Nigeria To Italy

Naomi Iwelu, a twenty-five-year-old survivor, has found solace in Catania, Sicily, after enduring unimaginable trauma and violence on her arduous journey from Benin, Nigeria.

In 2018, Naomi’s decision to leave Benin was triggered by the death of her mother, compounding the challenges she faced as the eldest of six orphans.

Financial constraints forced her to abandon her education, pushing her into the workforce at bars, restaurants, and as a cleaner.

As the family’s living conditions worsened, the prospect of starting anew in Europe gained traction. Naomi reconnected with a long-lost friend in Libya through Facebook, who persuaded her to embark on the perilous journey.

However, the financial burden proved overwhelming, leading Naomi to deceive her boyfriend and send money to her friend in Libya, marking the commencement of her challenging odyssey.

Organized by her Libyan contact, Naomi joined a group for the journey, enduring two grueling weeks in the desert where water scarcity and traumatic events unfolded. Naomi, now settled in Catania, Sicily, recounts the ordeal, her silence echoing the depths of her experience.

After six months in Tripoli, Libya’s capital, Naomi faced further horrors when two men threatened and robbed her at knifepoint, ultimately subjecting her to sexual assault.

Undeterred, Naomi pressed on, raising funds for her European passage despite the haunting memories. 

The sea crossing was a perilous endeavor, marked by sickness and hardship, culminating in her arrival in Lampedusa, where Italian doctors revealed her unexpected pregnancy.

Overcoming this painful revelation, Naomi secured an abortion, graduated from an Italian school, and now works in a Catania restaurant.

 Her resilience extends to providing financial support to her family in Nigeria, although the emotional distance remains palpable.



Al jazeerah media network 


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