CongoI Am My StoryRefugeeWhat We Carried

Birth Certificate, Goma, DRC

Jim Lommasson
Jim Lommasson / What We Carried

Johana Amani:

I lost my birth certificate while fleeing for safety from my home country Congo, DRC. I never thought I would lose my sense of belonging   and identity with it.

Birth certificates are required to prove nationality and identity. In my case, I lost my nationality a long time ago and I have the power to shape my own identity from the languages I speak to the clothes I ware without this document.

I often question my identity because my real name is not  on my birth certificate. What’s the point of having a document that proves where you are from but you cannot live there?

If birth certificates were designed to protect childrens rights, why did it not protect me from abuse as a child?

I am lost in this world because I have identity of Congolese but I can never call this place home because I am not protected by my own people and community.

Caption above document: I only see this as a useless paper with no meaning or value.