It is always promising to discuss with young people who, although things have not turned out very well for them, they are actively present in their lives and do not leave only the external conditions to determine their present and future.
Mohadesa, a 15-year-old girl from Afghanistan, is such a young person. She currently lives in the open accommodation structure for refugees and asylum seekers in Ritsona with her family, having first lived for a while in the structures of Samos and Lesvos islands. Upon her arrival in Ritsona, Mohadesa felt she found a home again, but on the other hand she had nothing to do at first. She was just sleeping. Gradually, however, Ritsona became a real home, a neighborhood, a social environment in which Mohadesa made friends, became acquainted with the people of the organizations that operate there, participated in various group activities and thus things started to get better.
“Friendship is very important“, says Mohadesa, and that was why she was very sad when her first friends left Ritsona for Germany. Then, as she describes, “I was left alone and turned to myself. I was looking for joy and suddenly I found support by the people of the International Organization for Migration who provided me with the materials I needed to start doing what gives me joy again. To paint“.
The source of joy had been found and Mohadesa continued making steps ahead. New friends, new stimuli, new goals. Today, she shares her life with Sezara and Muzhda. The three girls go to the same high school, attend Greek, English, and math classes at the “Homework and Creative Activities Centre”* of SolidarityNow in Ritsona, they are painters and most of all they are very good friends!
Thus, the multi-talented Mohadesa created a hyperactive daily routine. She wakes up early, goes to school, then studies, meets her friends with whom they meditate, she paints of course and in her free time she reads literature, listens to podcasts, and for some time now she has added the writing of a book to her activities.
Her book does not yet have an official title, so she calls it “A Girl from Afghanistan”. Because, as she explains, the story of a girl from Afghanistan is the same as most girls, “as if our fate is common if we do not leave from there“. There, as she tells us with complaint but also with the certainty that she has escaped the danger, “you can be a 12-year-old girl playing with a doll and someone to tell you that you finally had a baby, you were late!”
But all this is now far away, and the dream is ahead. Mohadesa is happy painting whatever she likes and knows that she is talented. Her talent is also appreciated by the people who visit the various exhibitions and festivals that Mohadesa has taken part with her paintings. This makes her happy: “I have a good feeling. I feel that I grew up. Two years ago, I was like most people who praise art. I only knew a few things about painting. But now I am the one whose art is praised by the others, and I am so happy”.
Mohadesa though still changes her mind often: “I want to become a model (and she blushes) I want to become a writer; I also want to become a very good painter“. Whatever she chooses, however, she wants to do it well so as to raise her voice and talk about Afghanistan, about women and their rights, about justice and equality. We completed our discussion with Mohadesa with the belief that she will succeed in whatever she chooses to do and with the promise that we will meet her again in person in a painting exhibition to admire her work!
*The project “All Children in Education” (ACE) is implemented by SolidarityNow with support and funding from UNICEF Greece.