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Work grant edition 2016

Sergei Stroitelev

Breaking the Routine


In December 2016, Sergei Stroitelev got the grant from Médicos del Mundo Spain after winning the Luis Valtueña Humanitarian Photography Award 2016. This allowed him to work in Reggio Calabria (Italy) for two months. During this period of time, he produced several stories dedicated to the migration of African and Asian refugees to the shores of Italy with the help of Médicos del Mundo Italy team members. This multimedia tells the story of one of them.

Breaking the routine

500 refugees from Asia and Africa arrive to the port of Reggio (Italy) every week. After arrival they have to stay in receipt centers whilst waiting for the documents which allow them to work in the country. The process may take up to 4 years. Young men are bound by the bureaucracy processes. However they try to struggle with the routine how they can.

The story is about Mohammed Kone, a refugee from Burkina Faso who came to the port of Reggio by boat a year ago. Mohammed is now residing in Saline receipt center which is a former gym near the town of Reggio. He is an amateur artist.

Photographs and video – Sergei Stroitelev
Editing – Maria Sivets


Sergei Stroitelev (Saint Petersburg, Russia,1985) Sergei Stroitelev is a freelance documentary photographer who works on a regular basis with National Geographic Russia, VICE UK/USA, and magazines, and for RIA Novosti, Kommersant Photos and Getty Images agencies as a stringer.

In 2014 he graduated from the U.A. Galperin School of Photojournalism with the Golden Mark award for the best diploma project, devoted to the Kiev revolution. In 2014-15 he spent 10 months in Nepal collaborating with various non-governmental structures and organizations such as the Nepalese Red Cross and the Nepal Leprosy Trust while undertaking projects covering human rights issues in the country, e.g. children with HIV, discrimination against those affected by leprosy, and human trafficking.

In 2015 he covered both the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake and migration crises in Europe.

Sergei Stroitelev has received awards in a number of international contests, such as the Jury’s Special Award at Humanity Photo Awards 2015, the Young Photographers of Russia festival award in 2014, and 2015, and the Golden Pen Award in the 2014 and 2015 Photo of the Year nominations.

He earned the Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award 2016 and after receiving the grant, he developed a project in 2017 in Reggio Calabria, Italy cooperating with the local branch of Médicos del Mundo whilst working on several projects dedicated to the issue of migration in that region.