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A Family Divided


by Lorenzo Lazzati

Published June 2024

Lorenzo Lazzati met Zijad during the summer of 2020 when he was a resident of "Campo Rom di Castel Romano," one of the official Romani enclaves established by the city of Rome. He was a 36-year-old unemployed man with four daughters (Annabelle, 5; Cattleya, 6; Madonna, 8; and Kelly, 10), two sons (Charly, 16; and Aziz, 17), and a wife (Saima, 34) who had been incarcerated in Rebibbia Penitentiary since 2016 and sentenced to eleven years for repeated robberies. In October 2020, Zijad was informed by the authorities that his daughters had to be placed under foster care because their living conditions at the compound were substandard. In January 2021, the girls were brought to a foster home and his two sons were permitted to stay with him. Zijad was at risk of losing his girls if he did not collaborate, acquire a job, and obtain a suitable residence to regain custody of them.

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