Women through the Border

The journey has been long and often complicated, but most of their problems, like ours, are everyday ones. One day they decided to leave behind everything they have known to begin an adventure that would take them to Spain.


Some came alone, seeking those euros that would enable them to pay their children’s education or support their parents, sometimes they came to finish their studies or followed their husbands. Some of our women left with a “See you soon”, but the trip had no date of return, while others who planned to stay in Spain have already decided to come back due to the enormous difficulty in getting a steady job given the current economic situation.

They are the invisible stories of immigration, those that are not usually shown on the news: women (and men) who left from the airport of Yoff and have only see the boats with immigrants on television. Immigrants who struggle every day to meet their expenses and keep going, with no one asking them who they are or where they come from. Stories, too, of their relationship with those they left behind…

Women through the border include images of a journey, a group of Senegalese women living today in Spain. Each story is different. Reflecting the diversity of their country of origin: there are Muslims, Christians and those who practice a religion difficult to classify. They come from cities such as Dakar, Saint Louis and Kaolack. They are Wolof, Serer, Toucouleur, Mandinka, Jola and Peuhl. There are women with university degrees and an impressive career behind them, and those that have fewer years of education; economically independent and dependent women, but always strong fighters.

The photographs in the exhibition “Women through the border: A journey from Senegal to Spain” are part of a conference held in Granada in the fall of 2009, funded by the Library of Andalucia (Biblioteca de Andalucía), a research supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and Juventud en Accion (Youth in Action), a program of the European Commission carried out with the support of the Institute of Migration of the University of Granada. The organization of the workshop was carried out by Javier Acebal and Luna Vives (organization, photos) and Patricia Garcia (diffusion). Many others contributed to its success, including, of course, several Senegalese immigrant associations and the men and women who opened the doors of their homes to share with us the story of an unforgettable trip (more information about “Women through the border“).

During the coming weeks, Guiguinbali will publish a series of articles with the stories of these travelers, from their home communities to the places where they live today. They are pictures, stories, day after day that aims to bring a country closer to ours.

Javier Acebal

About the author: Javier Acebal

I'm a photographer based in Dakar (West Africa). I love to document cultures and people! (but also working for tourism industry).

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