A Million Shillings
Across the Horn of Africa, war, abuse and poverty make millions miserable and drive thousands to attempt to flee. With land borders cut off or closed, and surrounded by conflict on all sides, one of the only means of escape is by sea.
This series is presented in the book “A Million Shillings” (Trolley) and follows the journey of desperate emigrants, or tahrib, to their embarkation points with smugglers on the coast of Somalia, on a perilous voyage across the Gulf of Aden, and onward in the search for a better life. The cost is just $50, or one million Somali shillings.
Desperate and in fear for their lives, there is one feasible means of escape from this beleaguered country. With the longest coastline if Africa, tens of thousands each year turn to the sea.
With a one in twenty chance of not making it to the other side alive, it is a price they must risk their lives for. Even then, it is a journey which for many will remain unfinished. Alixandra Fazzina worked over a period of two years to chronicle the exodus of migrants and refugees from Somalia to the Arabian Peninsula. For her work on “A Million Shillings – Escape From Somalia”, she was a finalist in the CARE Award for Humanitarian Reportage and the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography.
After restless days and weeks spent thinking of loved ones left behind and dreaming of uncertain life that may lied ahead, the order to proceed can come suddenly without warning.
The tahrib never move too far from the few belongings they have brought. They learn to conceal the items that are precious to them for fear of robbery or being drenched out at the sea.
"In contrast to the haven they expected to find at the end of the long journey from Africa's Horn, the squalor, overcrowding and lack of opportunity in Aden pushes many disconected refugees further afield in their bid to establish more satisfactory life"
- Alixandra Fazzina