a photographic story of a family's journey from sudan to tel aviv as refugees
Alan and his brothers are refugees from Sudan, trying to create a new life in a new land.
Photography by Dudi Hasson
Alen Godin left Sudan with his parents when he was just five years old, fleeing the Second Civil War as refugees. They ended up in Israel, where Alen’s younger brothers — Jock, Ashol and Yonantan were born. They are captured here by photographer Dudi Hanson, on Jaffa Beach in Tel Aviv. “I want these images to their bond as a strong family, and for others to see their dreams and hopes for a solid place that they can call home,” Dudi says of the brothers. “Refugees in Israel don't have any rights, the government doesn’t recognise them. when they get sick they can't see a doctor. At any second they are at risk of being exiled back to their family’s country. Alen’s father wast already sent from Israel back to Sudan.” We spoke to 18-year-old Alen about the difficulties he and family face, and his hopes for the future.
What was your journey to Israel like? I was really young so I don't really remember it, but we walked many hours by foot and with rides along the way. I was carried all the time. We went through many countries — Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Israel.
What is your life like in Tel Aviv? I used to live in Ein Gedi kibbutz, I wasn't welcomed as nicely as I hoped, I got mistreated, maybe because I was different from them. Then I got to my new home in the south of Tel Aviv, which is the place I live now. Most of my friends there are from Sudan or Africa so it almost feels like we are in Africa. When I'm in this area it doesn't feel like Israel, I guess it feels like home.
What do your parents say about what life was like in Sudan for them? My mum doesn't really talk about it. It's really hard for her, she rather not mention our past and what we went through over there. She has a more optimistic view of living here and living now.
How do you spend your days? I just graduated high school. Some days I have photoshoots and most of the day I workout and play basketball with my friends.
What do you want to do for a career? I really want to be a professional basketball player. Modelling is a thing that happened along the way, it wasn't a thing that I chose to do. For now, I want to evolve my modelling career. go further, work abroad on international campaigns.
Does your refugee status make it impossible to get a job? It's really complicated, I need to get a working license and it's a pretty long procedure. I can't get a pay cheque because of my refugee status.
What do are your hopes for the future? My basic hope is to have a rights in my country. To be eligible to get medical care — I once waited ten hours just to get my broken finger fixed. I would want to build a future wherever i'll be accepted, although i really love Israel, it is really comfortable and easy to live in.
Photography Dudi Hasson
Styling Shay Lee Nissim
Thanks to Alan Godin, Jock Godin, Ashol Godin and Yonantan Godin