With the help of a translator, Mazen tells me that he hasn’t been in school for the past five years. Instead, he has been selling vegetables to support his family. He is the eldest child, and the only one they could afford to send away. “If I had stayed, the risk of me being forced into the Syrian army would have been high,” he says. In school, Mazen’s favourite subject was biology and he hopes that once reaching Germany he can continue his studies and complete his education.
After spending some time at the Safe Space, people gather their things and move on. After crossing the border, they must make their way to a village four kilometres away where they can take a bus. Everyone has to walk, except those who are in wheelchairs or have to be carried on a mattress.
I watch as a mother and father each carry a small child, one-year-old twins, while two children around four or five years old walk alongside them. An exodus of adults and children slowly disappears into Serbian territory. There are parents holding their children`s hands or carrying them in their arms, together with bags and rucksacks.
A Syrian woman with four children tells me before she crosses the border why she is undertaking this perilous journey: she wants to give her children freedom and a brighter future. A future that currently remains uncertain.