#ArtIsMyLife | Gisele

Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

“Singing is my passion. When I sing, I feel nice. Music inspires me”

The girls have just finished their rehearsal and we walk along the small streets of Volvi*. Moria begins to sing one of his songs. We ask him to interpret the lyrics. “In few words, the song says that love is a crocodile” he explains us, and the two girls burst into laughter and start teasing him. Gisele just smiles. She is clutching her hands on her chest as she is on the defensive.

Gisele has her afro hair in cornrows. She is very tall and looks older than her age, but she is only 15 years old. Besides that, she is the youngest member of the band. She is quite shy and very timid, but at the same time extremely talented. In particular, she sings and writes poems. When she talks about the things she loves most, music and literature, her hands loosen up and her face becomes brighter. Gisele lives at Volvi along with her father and brother. Before they were in Moria, Lesvos. In July it will be one year since they came to Greece. However, Gisele hopes that they will soon be able to resettle to Belgium to reunite with her mother who lives there permanently.

We talk about Congo and her life there. “I really miss my school in Kinshasa. I went school till the 3rd grade of High School. I miss my friends and the activities I was doing. I miss everything from Congo. On Saturdays we were doing excursions with my family”, says full of nostalgia. Her love for music began when she was a child. Particularly, she participated in a church children’s choir. Gospel songs are her favorites. She became member of the band a few months ago. Everybody was very welcoming and warm. “I have decided to join the band because I love singing. Singing is my passion”, she says. “When I sing I feel nice. Music inspires me”, she adds.

In Greece, she goes to school and she tells us that she has three friends, Athanasia, Marina and Elena. “I like school very much, but it’s difficult because everything is in Greek”, says Gisele, who wants to study literature. We ask her about her life at Volvi and she confesses that when they arrived there with her father and brother, things were difficult. Back then she did not go to school and was obliged to stay at home all day; and that was boring. “My life in Congo was very different. I refused to accept the fact that I was staying at home and doing nothing. It was very difficult for me”, she notes. We ask her to tell us about her dreams and she tells us that when she grows up she wants to be a singer or a stewardess.

Gisele along with Moria, Richard, Sarah and Therese sang rumba and gospel at the 15th International Book Fair of Thessaloniki. Moreover, Gisele read out some of her poems.


*Gizel is a beneficiary of the Child and Family Support Hubs program, which is implemented by SolidarityNow, supported by UNICEF, with funding from the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO).

**The Organisation Internationale De La Francophonie (OIF) finances French language courses for asylum seekers in Athens and Thessaloniki.

*** Iliaktida as UNHCR’s partner has the management of Volvi Accommodation Scheme, through IATAP.