Credits: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Mamadu Bassir sits eating a breakfast of warm milk and cookies in a migrants shelter in Rome - one of nearly 65,000 lone youngsters who have survived the perilous sea journey from North Africa to Italy in the past four years.

His meal finished, the gangly 17-year-old tells the story of his trip from Guinea, via a Libyan prison where a guard knocked out three of his teeth with a club, to his crossing of the Mediterranean, where he watched a friend drown in front of him. Both fell into the water as migrants scrabbled out of their deflating rubber boat to reach rescuers.

Bassir could not swim but someone threw him a life-jacket just in time. “I fell in the sea, but Italians saved me,” he says. Then he puts his head on the table and starts to cry. For many of his fellow young migrants, the dangers do not stop when they reach dry land.

Read more: Reuters