Mohammed – nickname Hammoudi – is 14 when he flees Syria. He and his older brother leave their mother and sisters behind and mainly walk all the way from Syria to Europe. It is a long and tough journey on which they encounter dangerous obstacles such as minefields, wild animals and violent border guards. Mohammed’s journey seems like a nightmare. Meanwhile, he continues to dream of a future becoming a doctor. But once he arrives in the Netherlands, it turns out to be difficult to learn the language. And procedures take a long time. He hasn’t seen his mom for over 3 years. Will his dream come true and will his mother and sisters finally arrive from Syria?
Hammoudi’s Dream had its premiere at Cinekid in October 2021. You can now watch it here (top of page). Or first watch the teaser below.
Hundreds of supporters changed the ending of the film Hammoudi’s Dream. Hammoudi did not see his mother and sisters for almost four years. Thanks to the support of hundreds of donors, Hammoudi was able to afford the extremely high costs of family reunification. A year after we last filmed for Hammoudi’s Dream, he and his family are finally reunited.
This spring, after 4 years, Mohammed was finally able to be reunited with his mother and sisters. But the IND did not allow his eldest sister Sabah to come. Reason given: she is highly educated and can take care of herself. The fact that Syria is not safe, especially not for a woman alone, was not taken into account. Together with a lawyer we set to work to get Sabah here as well. Why Sabah is now allowed to come is not clear from the decision. The randomness is maddening. Were those six months of extra stress and grief necessary?
What is safety for a child if he has not seen his mother (and sisters) for three years? Like Hammoudi, there are many children who are trying to build a new life in the Netherlands, while waiting endlessly for family reunification. A procedure that is becoming increasingly difficult to discourage refugees from coming to the Netherlands. For example, State Secretary of Justice Broekers-Knol – against the advice of the IND and without the knowledge of the House of Representatives – introduced a policy that thwarts family reunification for children who live in the Netherlands with a (far) relative. Hundreds of children – including Hammoudi – are victims of this. This policy has recently been withdrawn under pressure from the House of Representatives.
Do you think we should quickly reunite refugee children who have come alone with their parents?