(This is a self portrait taken by Star and Ana )
STAR AND ANA FLED AFGHANISTAN WITH THEIR MOTHER AND TWO BROTHERS AFTER THEIR FATHER DISAPPEARED. THEY LIVED IN THE JUNGLE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, HOPING TO JOIN THEIR UNCLE IN UK.
Star: “I want to be a doctor, so that I can help people.”
Ana: “I want to be a photojournalist when I grow up, so I can tell people the truth about things that happen in the world.”
“We wake up early and pray, recite the Qu’ran and clean our caravan before breakfast. At 11am we go to the school and help to translate for people. We spend time at the Women’s and Children Centre and also translate books into English for people. We do yoga, and play tennis and badminton. Our big brother plays football with our cousin at night, and he sometimes goes to the train to try and get to England.
“We go to the mosque and pray four times a day; we pray for God to keep us safe and to arrive in the UK safely soon. We still have family in Afghanistan. We miss our country and hope to go home one day.”
Star and Ana are now re-settled in Niort in France, with their mother and brothers, as their claim for asylum in the UK to join their uncle was not granted and it was too dangerous to try and smuggle themselves illegally.
“We are back at school, studying from 7am to 5pm every day. We have to get two buses to school – it takes a long time – but we love it.
“We like having our own room again, more space than in the caravan – and no rats! It’s good not having to stand in line for things, like we did in the Jungle, and not having police everywhere.
“But some local people don’t want us here. It’s difficult not being able to communicate properly, and we don’t have any friends. We miss the friends we had in the Jungle and our free time. We also miss the radio station and the photography project.”
“Our mum can’t work until our asylum claim is processed and accepted. Even when it does, she is worried that she won’t be able to support us all. She doesn’t speak French very well, and there is prejudice towards Muslims.
“We want to learn French quickly − the French language is good, but complicated! We hope that France will accept us soon, so that we can study and have a normal life again.”
"I wish I was butterfly, so I had wings to fly away. A butterfly has freedom, it can go anywhere it wants." Taken by Star - aged 9
“I like trainers, because I like sport. They’re strong for running." Taken by Ana - aged 11
“It’s not good for living." Taken by Ana - aged 11
“The Women and Children’s Centre is my favourite place in the camp because it has a lot of activities. It’s fun for children, and gives help to the women. I am sad that they have destroyed it now, it was the only safe community space for us." Taken by Ana - aged 11
"It's very difficult to bring water home, especially in this weather. My brother does this every day, sometimes me and my little sister carry some also." Taken by Ana - aged 11
"Welcome…to Our Jungle." Taken by Star - aged 9
"This is to keep firewood dry in camp." Taken by Star - aged 9
"Police are nice, but not for us. They come everyday." Taken by Star - aged 9
"My dream for the future is that I am in a good country, a safe place and I go to school and have luck." Taken by Star - aged 9
"Colouring helps stop the boredom." Taken by Star - aged 9
"We empathise with the attacks that happened in Paris, it’s like that every day in Afghanistan. Our cousin’s school was bombed and many children died. We left because it was too dangerous, but it is dangerous here too, last night there was a fire." Taken by Ana - aged 11
Taken by Ana - aged 11
“People must keep hope." Taken by Ana - aged 11
"The flames of the fire look like the word Allah." Taken by Star - aged 9