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Sadik's story

A group of inhabitants of the island of Noirmoutier off the Atlantic coast of the Vendée in France have set up a charity to provide moral and material support for Sadik, a young Sudanese refugee. Sadik’s journey from Darfur to the island was long and hazardous: fleeing war and forced recruitment to a militia group, he followed the all-too-frequent migrant path through Chad to Libya, where he was enslaved, exploited and eventually put to sea in a treacherously unreliable craft. Sadik was lucky enough to be picked up by coast guards, and disembarked in Italy, from where he travelled to southern France and finally to the Porte de la Chapelle migrant camp in Paris. In early November 2017 he was one of a group of eight young migrants evacuated to the temporary reception centre in La Guérinière (island of Noirmoutier), unaware of the sad fate that was in store. In December, on an outing to the local swimming pool, he rushed out of the changing rooms and dived head first into the shallow end of the pool. With fractured vertebrae and damage to his spinal cord, Sadik spent several weeks in intensive care fighting for his life; when he recovered sufficiently to be taken off the ventilator, it became clear that he was quadriplegic, and would remain crippled. A group of volunteers were working with the young migrants, to teach them basic French and introduce them to our culture through sporting and social activities. The volunteers joined forces to support Sadik, a stranger in a foreign land, alone and friendless, and it seemed to us that an association would be an effective means of pooling energy and resources. and so we set up SADIKI – Mon Ami in June. The name of the association is a pun on Sadik’s forename: in Arabic, « sadiki » means « my friend » – mon ami in French.

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