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On International Youth Day, us in uplifting the voices of youth and celebrating their leadership. Learn more. For International Youth Day, Kehkashan Basu, feminist youth leader and environmentalist, celebrates the power of young people to bring about positive change. Immaculate Akello, 25, is working to transform the lives of rural women in northern Uganda living along the shea belt community.

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In Guinea young boys dream of the biggest adventure.

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An adventure that will give them a heroic feeling, make them a man, and make their family proud. Like this episode?

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Share your thoughts on how you have challenged your view on what it means to be a man using the hashtag CryLikeaBoy. Please do not hesitate to listen and subscribe to the podcast on euronews. Oumou: Every mother wishes for her son to travel.

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In Guinea, boys as young as years-old leave their homes to go on illegal migration routes to Europe through the Mediterranean. Often, they are supported by their parents and whole villages. But what happens when the hero fails his adventure and has to return home and face the fierce reaction of his friends and family? This is the fourth stop in our journey across the African continent, where we meet men who defy patriarchal norms. Danielle Olavario: Guinea is a picturesque West African country with a population of 12 million people.

Guinea is the world's second export country for bauxite, after Russia. The country gained its independence from France in Tens of thousands of Guineans try illegal migration routes each year. They make these long journeys on foot, often crossing deserts, finding routes by land and sea to make their way to Europe. I went through many things there such as hunger, segregation, betrayal.

I underwent forced labor there. Danielle Olavario: This is Mamadou Alpha. He prefers for people to call him Alpha. He is 21 years old. When we sit down to chat he offers a small plastic bag filled with mineral water. Mamadou left home when he was 19 years old. And those who successfully completed the trip inspire him to this day:.

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Mamadou: Some of our friends live there. I have a lot of friends there. Not long ago my friend who lives in France, in Lyon, paid for the wedding of his sister. Danielle Olavario: Friendly rivalry is a strong motivator for these boys. It's impressive to hear the same words come up every time, trying to give value to the idea of leaving as an act of bravery, as an act of heroism.

There was a mother I was talking to whose son left illegally. He left secretly, but he was showing her pictures of his friends on social networks. He would say to her, 'Look Mum, the real heroes at the moment are in Italy, Spain, they are in Europe. So there is this glorification that evokes fairy tales, that can indeed evoke initiation tales. Danielle Olavario: Mamadou lives in a modest two-story house with three other people: his mother Fatoumata, an older brother, and a younger adopted sister.

This motivated the young Mamadou to consider making the journey himself. Mamadou: We have to go.

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You know, in Africa, when you come into the world as a man, you have all the burdens hanging over your head. Danielle Olavario: Young men like Mamadou, feel the pressure to be successful breadwinners for the families once they come of age, and the adventure is part of that, but Guinea is not the only place putting such pressure on youths. It's defined in terms of having power and maybe acquiring some wealth.

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The fact of taking care of one's wife and children counts as well. This is something quite universal, even if in European and North American societies women are increasingly involved in the workforce, just like their husbands.

Danielle Olavario: Success is important when it comes to the adventure. But what happens when you fail? After mentally preparing himself, Mamadou also made his attempt. But failing and returning home was even harder than the journey itself. Mamadou: When I came back people threw looks at me, some were talking behind my back, saying I was only having fun.

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Most people told me they knew I couldn't do it. They said I was incapable of it, that I was weak. I don't repent of anyone. I let it go. I know I am strong. Danielle Olavario: During his long journey, Mamadou was captured by the Moroccan authorities who sent him back home. To Mamadou this was a shock. It was really, really, really painful. Really painful. He wishes to remain anonymous. But he was afraid to die, he returned. He spent so much money on this trip. If I were him, I would never return. I'd rather die there than return.

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Danielle Olavario: The shame of failure is something that none of these young men want to face. Especially when whole villages often chip in to collect enough for them to leave.

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So if they return, relatives and villagers often feel like these returnees have squandered their money…and they believe their failure means they did not become men Anonymous: To me he's a woman because it's women who go back and forth. A man has a goal and he either achieves it or he doesn't.

The whole family relies on you. Going there and coming back means you haven't reached your goal while the family counts on you, it's you who is the man of the family. Danielle Olavario: Many people in Conakry share this opinion of Mamadou. And if they do, many of them hide. Some of them even keep on sending money home, as if they were working abroad.

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Men who return home are treated as weak and women are seen as cursed. With women, the stigma is connected to what they have to experience on their journey abroad. They often experience sexual abuse and rape, and sometimes they have no other choice but to sell their bodies in exchange of money or food.

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Bintou: It's not easy at all. When a girl takes the route and she has no money, nothing You need someone.

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And today, there is no free help. Someone can tell you he loves you but not because he does, only for his own benefit. I met someone on the road who told me he loved me and that he would take care of me. And yet, it was the other way round. Danielle Olavario: This is Bintou. She took the Moroccan route, like Mamadou. She came all the way to the coastal city of Nador, just 10km away from the Spanish border.

But after struggling with love and work, she decided to come back. Bintou: I didn't care about what people thought when I came back.

Podcast i stigma of the returnee: back to guinea empty-handed

There was too much slander about me. We are at a meeting of the Guinean Organisation Against Irregular Migration, an NGO created by returnees to help other returnees reintegrate into society. Their ultimate goal is to convince people to stay or make them migrate legally.

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In the center of this room, there is a big table with a dozen people. The ones who returned willingly or forcefully and those who are considering their options to leave. The host greets everyone and offers to choose the topic for a debate. Any topic. There are no rules.

People come here to openly talk about what really bothers them. Elhadj Mohamed Diallo: Every month we have at least three or four educational debates with migrants and potential migrants.

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And sometimes we show them videos of young people who have never set foot anywhere, who don't even know where Senegal is, but who have earned success in Guinea.