Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Favour - the orphan face of Italy's migrant drama

26 May 2016, 21:44

Rome - A baby girl who survived a shipwreck that killed her parents and captured the heart of an Italian doctor, has become the new face of the country's migrant drama.

Nine-month-old Favour arrived alone on the island of Lampedusa, which lies closer to the shores of north Africa than Italy, after her father and pregnant mother died during a nightmarish journey which left many survivors suffering serious chemical burns.

The boat, carrying about 120 people largely from Mali and Nigeria, overturned on Tuesday after the migrants rushed to one side on spotting a rescue ship - a frequent and often fatal mistake which has led to many similar disasters.

Survivors pulled from the sea were taken to Lampedusa's hospital and reception centre, including small, blue-hatted Favour.

Pietro Bartolo, the island's only doctor, has cared for hundreds of undernourished, dehydrated and distressed migrants and examined countless bodies of those who have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of the crisis.

But little Favour made a particular impact.

"I've asked to foster her, I want to keep her with me forever," he said in interviews published across Italian media on Thursday, adding that if he should not be awarded custody "someone must adopt her and give her a new life".

"She is a marvellous creature, she hugged me, she didn't shed a tear," he said.


Bartolo met wide-eyed Favour off the rescue boat, taking her from the arms of a young woman - one of 20 people suffering burns severe enough to warrant hospital treatment - who recounted the fate suffered by the infant's parents.

She would not be Bartolo's first foster child: the 59-year-old took in a 17-year-old Tunisian boy five years ago, according to La Stampa daily.

Her story has prompted dozens of Italian families to call the doctor's practice in Lampedusa seeking to adopt her.

"They call from all over Italy, the telephone in the clinic has been ringing off the hook. They want to take her in, they beg to be able to raise this little girl," Bartolo told the La Repubblica newspaper.

Favour has also bewitched the island's mayor, Giusi Nicolini, who has made staff at the centre promise to warn her before she is transferred to a shelter for minors in Sicily so she has time to say goodbye.

"She is so beautiful! It's incredible that she's so well, considering everything she's been through," she said.

As Bartolo held Favour, who played with the red glasses hung around his neck, he told La Stampa that her survival against the odds reminded him of the miraculous recovery of a woman years ago who had been placed in a body bag in Lampedusa before he discovered a weak pulse.

Holding and playing with the little girl brought a ray of joy to a grim job which sees Bartolo stare death repeatedly in the face.

"When they say you get used to it after a bit, I answer that I have never got used to it. And each time I have to open a body bag I am sick to my stomach," he said.



Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Types of men that are a waste of ...

Most women end up heartbroken because they were trying to convince the wrong man to be in a relationship/ marriage. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Cheating is hardwork!

Cheating, although enjoyable by the person doing it initially, it gets to a point they start realizing that it was never even worth it. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Dating that one person that socie...

Works at a massage parlour. Works at Millionaires Club (that one on Baricho road) - you know the ones I am talking about. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM rebels sweat in Kisii as Oran...

ODM rebels are sweating in Kisii after the Orange Party won by elections despite concerted efforts by the ruling Jubilee Party to win the elections. Read more...