Muzhda’s story completes the SolidarityNow storytelling tribute to the broader role and importance of education, which began on January 24th, International Day of Education.
Muzhda is the friend of Mohadesa and Sezara. The three girls from Afghanistan live together in the open accommodation structure for refugees and asylum seekers in Ritsona (Boeotia region). Muzhda is also a super-talented girl, a painter and along with the other three girls of the tribute, they light up everyone’s days in the accommodation structures they live. They are the ones who keep alive the hope that despite the difficulties and temporary impasses, the light will come out again. It is through these children who do not quit, who do not face life passively, but on the contrary, they try and find a way to express not only themselves but also collective feelings, that a world can become a better place for all.
Muzhda is very good in English, and this helps her a lot to describe her feelings and her dreams but also to facilitate and help her friends when they have a difficulty in their first foreign language.
She paints everything. Landscapes, nature, animals, women. “I paint something and then I do the tricks of van Gogh “, she confesses with a huge smile.
When asked why she paints and if she learned on her own, she says that she remembers herself painting since she was little. She liked the colors and their mixing. As she grew up, her talent grew too. And then the paper with childish paintings became canvas with more complex paintings and meanings.
In Ritsona, Muzhda found herself in the right environment to start painting again after arriving in Greece. She not only gets Greek, English, math, and science courses at the SolidarityNow “Homework and Creative Activities Centre”*, but more. She found a place where she can exchange ideas, thoughts, dreams and get support of her talent.
“When I paint, I feel like a queen who orders her hands to splash the paints and who orders her mind to focus on something that makes her feel the happiest person. And then I feel like a leave dancing in the wind”.
Following this, we could not ask her anything else. The words she chose, the dreamy style in which she described her relationship with painting were enough for us to start dreaming too, and to begin a conversation with her in which we exchanged thoughts about art and of course about the paintings by her favorite Dutch painter.
Like the dreams of the other three girls, Muzhda’s dreams do not focus on her. These children do not respond alike with their peers usually in the West, in the question what you want to do when you grow up.
Whatever they want to become or do has a more universal character. “I want to show love, respect and solidarity to the people in need. I want to be able to return the love that people have shown me and help them. I want my art to be an example that we should support those who have talent, I want to live in a world where no one should hide their talents but be free.”
Towards the end, Muzhda talked to us about the joy she feels when she participates in painting exhibitions and festivals and manages to sell one of her paintings: “I feel so much joy and pride, the more they encourage me the more I want to continue!”.
Her favorite work is a painting that has given it the title “Free Bird” which depicts a hand raised to the sky and a man flying. Muzhda aims the sky too! And access to knowledge, education, and creative activities, stand by her so that she can develop her talent, be empowered to discover her potential and choose her future.
*The project “All Children in Education” (ACE) is implemented by SolidarityNow with support and funding from UNICEF Greece.