Fundão, Portugal, Aug 2 (AFP/APP):A year after the rescue vessel Aquarius plucked Deborah Osaretin from the Mediterranean’s churning waters, she is building a new life as a refugee in Fundao, central Portugal.
The cheerful 21-year-old, who fled Nigeria in the face of continual attacks by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, prepares couscous in a modest apartment, paid for by city funds.
Portugal is an exception in Europe in that it faces a labour shortage and encourages immigration.
Osaretin has found work in a firm making watch parts in Fundao, a town of 28,000 inhabitants, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Lisbon.
Her flatmate Augustina Sunday, also 21, works in a cherry orchard.
In June last year, the Aquarius was one of the first rescue vessels that the Italian government blocked as it closed the country’s doors to NGOs picking up migrants from the Mediterranean.
After a week at sea, the boat docked in Spain and its 630 passengers were distributed across six countries, with Portugal taking in 19 — all of whom wound up in Fundao.