Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

“If I get good grades, I want to study medicine!”

 “I do not know if I am the best student, but I’m doing my best. I want to find work and go to the University”

“When I was going school in Afghanistan, I didn’t like mathematics at all, so instead of concentrating on the lesson I was drawing houses and birds”, says Mahram in Greek while he is drawing for us a bird on a blank paper. Mahram is 19 years old and goes to Lyceum in a night school in Thessaloniki, while at the same time attends Greek lessons in SolidarityNow’s Blue Refugee Center.

Mahram lives in Greece for the last two years. He grew up with his grandparents. He lost his mother at an early age and until now he does not know whether his father is dead or alive. “At the age of 10 I was going to school and working at the same time. It was very difficult for me”, he tells us. Mahram worked as a farmer in order to be able to support himself. Many times he had to skip school. His teacher, however, was trying to help him in any way to continue his studies. But things turned out differently when the Taliban tried to recruit him. In order to persuade him, he was told that if he will die nobody will mourn him, because he was an orphan. Mahram to save himself, decided to flee from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Lesvos, Athens, Ioannina, again Athens, Idomeni and finally Thessaloniki. This was the road to freedom. In Lesvos he learned English and Greek, and he was helping his compatriots by translating for them. His next stop was Athens, where he was placed in a shelter for unaccompanied minors. His main goal back then was to leave from Greece and go to another European country. “Like the others, I wanted to leave from here too. We were told that if we go to another country things would be better”, he confesses. Indeed, he tried to leave, but without success. A health issue stopped him. He had to be hospitalized for a long time. The first time he stayed in hospital for 20 days and then for 3 months. “I was feeling very lonely. The doctors, however, were very good with me and helped me to overcome my health issue. My only interest was to go to school”.

For two years he didn’t go to school. “From the time I came to Greece until today most of the time I was in the hospital”, he says. But things have changed for the better. First, he started to attend Greek lessons in SN’s Blue Refugee Center with Kostas and Christina (his teachers), and he was registered at a night school. “I really like my school. I feel Greek”, he tells us and smiles. Mahram talks about his school, his teacher, his classmates, his Greek friends Andreas, Maria and the other kids, who are hanging out with him during the school breaks. His favorite lessons are mathematics, English and informatics -his teachers at the Blue Refugee Center, Elsa and Mohammed, have influenced him.

Mahram has been granted with asylum in Greece. Now his only dream is to finish school and go to the University. “I do not know if I am the best student, but I’m doing my best. I want to find work and go to the University. And if I get good grades, I want to study medicine!”

*SolidarityNow’s Blue Refugee Center in Thessaloniki is supported by UNHCR and UNICEF and funded by ECHO -European Commission – Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations.