In-depth personal storytelling through documentary film and audio
Episode 1: HESHAM'S DIARY (Duisburg, Germany)
As far as the media is concerned Hesham has ‘made it’ as an asylum seeker in Europe. After a gruelling journey to Europe (involving swimming the stretch from Turkey to Greece) he reached Germany in 2015 and from there his asylum claim was a quick process and he now lives in a one bedroom flat in Duisburg. However, through his audio diaries we learn of the day-to-day monotony of life alone in an alien and at times hostile city. We hear of how he misses each of his 7 family members - one of whom is dead and another missing, while the other five are spread across five different countries. Unable to visit any of them he says he now lives in a ‘virtual world’ - the internet offering his only real interactions with other human beings, and also his only source of information in a culture so at odds with his own.
Diarist: Hesham Moadamani Producer: Jodie Taylor
Episode 2: EIAD'S DIARY (London, UK)
Eiad is a 31 year old dentist from Damascus. He reached the UK by smuggling himself onto the back of a lorry in late 2014, and since then he has been trying to find his place in the country's capital city. Through his diaries we hear how his approach is to this new life is to ensure that he is always extremely busy - filling days with meetings, volunteer work, studies and speaking engagements - but finding a place to really call home is far from simple.
Diarist: Eiad Zinah Producer: Olivia Humphreys
Episode 3: THE TERKAWI'S DIARY (Oxelosund, Sweden)
Dr Ahmad Terkawi and his young family reached Greece by boat in 2015, and from there they relocated to Sweden. Squeezed together in a single room in a refugee hostel in Oxelsund, Ahmad tries to create a sense of normality for his small sons, all the while establishing the Maritime Organisation for Following Up and Rescue which uses mobile phones to help direct refugees in the perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.
Through Ahmad's diaries we hear of the endless paperwork that the family faces in settling, of their being relocated to a far away town without any prior notice, and of the highs and unpredictable lows of starting a new school in a new land.
Diarist: Ahmad Terkawi Producer: Andrea Rangecroft
Episode 4: HANAN’S DIARY (Berlin, Germany)
Two days after 23 year old Hanan married the love of her life in Syria she was forced to leave him behind and start a new life in Germany. In 2012 as fighting intensified in their area she and her parents and three siblings had applied for a family visa through an Aunt in Berlin, but they didn't hear any news for three years. However, when the visa unexpectedly came through in 2015 the family knew they had to take it, but her husband, Alaa, was not on the papers.
Today Hanan is trying to find a way to bring Alaa to Germany, but due to a loophole in her status it looks unlikely that she will be able to do so in a legal way. Through her diaries we hear of her struggle to find a way through the red tape, of her longing for her husband, and of their precious moments snatched on skype while he is in hiding in Lebanon.
Diarist: Hanan Alsous Producers: Carol Nahra and Astrid Hald
Episode 5: SIDRA’S DIARY (Istanbul, Turkey)
Fifteen-year-old Sidra Yussef is a romantic and a big dreamer. In her imagined future life she is an astronomer living in a cottage on a mountainside; someone with a special home just like her beloved grandparents had.
Growing up in Damascus as a Circassian - a minority ethnic group in Syria - Sidra had already heard a lot about her ancestral homeland in the North Caucases. But with the advent of war, she and her family found themselves moving back to the region that their ancestors had fled 150 years ago, and eventually through four cultures, five languages, and nine schools. Today while she grapples with all of the normal complications of teenage life, Sidra is also trying to figure out what home means to her. Here, as she begins life at her ninth school - this time in Istanbul - she takes us into her world via her audio diaries.