Migrant and Refugee Stories: Visual Journeys

Illustrations of Migrant and Refugee Journeys

When we hear or read their stories, we may not fully grasp their details or even their essence. The Journeys Project researchers have interviewed hundreds of people who have shared their experiences from what led them to leave their home, how they financed their travels, and what strategies made survival possible. Artwork by our friend and artist, Anne Moses, provides another medium for us to visualize and understand these stories.

**Names and other identifying information in the visual stories and their attached financial biographies below have been changed or omitted for the confidentiality and protection of the migrants and refugees who shared their experiences with us.

You can see this full post with more on each story through the Journeys website.

Migrant and Refugee Stories

Two Flight Tickets for their Own Dogs and Nothing for Me

A mother of two leaves behind her family searching for a better life in Tunisia, only to encounter a harsh reality she could never have imagined.

A mother’s journey to Tunisia

After losing everything to war, Stephanie moves to Abidjan where she finds a steady cleaning job and is quickly able to move up the ranks. When a distant “cousin” calls to tell her about opportunities in Tunisia, Stephanie is hesitant. When her prospective employers get involved and keep the calls coming, Stephanie is charmed by their niceness. 

Stephanie’s account of her reality in Tunisia is much more harrowing, though. She endures cruelty and abuse while trying to earn income to send to her daughter and son back home. After losing multiple jobs and unable to find steady employment, Stephanie dreams of going to Europe. Perhaps Europe will have the future she desires—one in which she can support her children. For Stephanie, going back to Cote d’Ivoire is not a desired option.

Journey from Côte D’Ivoire to Tunisia

More on Stephanie’s story will be coming soon in Financial Journeys Volume II.

A Shot of Whisky

Rami and Z, husband and wife, are Uzbeks from Afghanistan. Rami was planning to send two or three family members at a time to Germany. They have children—five in the camp with them—under 18 years of age. One is still in Kabul with her husband. Rami’s older brother has been in Holland for the past twenty years. Z’s younger brother lives in Germany.

Journey from Afghanistan to Greece

Read the full story here.

Worth the 500-Mile Walk

Straying hundreds of miles north, in no hurry to face the consequences of his escape, a young Syrian professional takes a circuitous route to reach Turkey.

Journey from Syria to Turkey

Read the full story here.

My Sister is My Banker

A Syrian couple with an in-law and two toddlers in tow manage to travel to Egypt via Lebanon before finally arriving in Turkey where they now live. To manage economically they patch together a jigsaw of livelihoods and modes of payment, which shifted as they moved from country to country.

Journey from Syria to Turkey via Egypt

Read the full story here.

Hercules

A man escapes Eritrea, survives kidnapping, makes it to Israel, is returned to eastern Africa, and tries again.

Journey from Eritrea to Sudan

Read the full story here.

The Beast Tamer

Alexander first arrived in the southern state of Yucatan, Mexico, to reunite with his Mexican-Honduran girlfriend. After the relationship ended, he decided to head further north to Tijuana, aboard La Bestia, searching for better employment opportunities. He now straddles a life between Tijuana and his Honduran hometown, picking up jobs as they come and hawking merchandise when he can.

Journey from Honduras through Mexico via “La Bestia”

More on Alexander’s story will be coming soon in Financial Journeys Volume II.

Find More Migrant and Refugee Stories

These are just a few examples of the experiences shared with us throughout our research. You can find more stories of migrant and refugee journeys in Volume I of our Financial Biographies and our upcoming Volumes II and Volume III. 

Also take a look at our Visual Journeys to see more artwork depicting these stories as told by migrants and refugees themselves.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive on the challenges migrants and refugees face and the strategies they use to navigate those challenges, take a look at our Essays and Articles for deeper dives into specific geographic regions or stages of the migration process.