Shamila: “Music is like the sea. It is endless”.

Copyright SolidarityNow

International Women’s Day | March 8th, 2022

“In ten years from now, I will be a cardiologist and I will work in a hospital in Europe, I will have solved my father’s heart problem and I will play the guitar at home to rest”, Shamila.

20-year-old Shamila answers our question about her future simply and decisively. She knows what she wants, since she was young. Her father’s chronic heart condition that affects the lives of her entire family was what made clear which is her goal. She will become a doctor, a cardiologist and will cure her father and other people with heart disease.

Shamila thus grew up with a heavy ‘bag’ to carry. And then, suddenly, it filled up even more. A long refugee trip from Afghanistan to Greece, a painful, but rich in experiences stay in Moria, Lesvos, and a more pleasant stay in the open refugee accommodation structure of Thebes.

At the structure in Thebes, she doesn’t sit still for a second. The team of the “Homework and Creative Activities Center”* of SolidarityNow that operates within the structure supports her activities and empowers her! Shamila goes to the local high school, plays and teaches guitar to younger children and is an accompanier on the bus for the younger students of the structure.

From Afghanistan to Iran and from there to Turkey, all the places have left their mark on Shamila. In her country, girls do not dream, she tells us, not because they do not have dreams, but because they are not allowed to. When she left from there, she slowly began to change. She opened up, started to observe the world around her, absorbed the stimuli. And in Turkey a small miracle happened that changed Shamila’s mood and essentially her life even though she did not realize it then. Today, however, she recognizes that the guitar that someone offered her as a gift in Turkey, opened new paths for her.

“I did not know anything. But I loved this gift so much that I immediately started looking for ways to learn to play it. And the way was found as soon as we arrived in Moria. I met a Greek lady who taught me the guitar for the two years I stayed there. To me and other children. She was my first teacher! And then, little by little, with her support I also started teaching guitar to small children”. Of course, music is not something foreign to Shamila. She remembers constantly listening to music from a very young age, tapping her fingers to the rhythm, singing softly. She has a soft spot for classical music and for Ahmad Zahir or “the Elvis of Afghanistan” as he is known, through whose work Shamila states that she discovered and loved two musical instruments – the guitar and the piano.

Shamila fills the site of Thebes with music, her friend Roya beautifies the spaces with her paintings and thus the two girls become role models for the younger children of the site. At noon, after school, children run from one class to another. They finish the painting class with Roya and run with enthusiasm to their other teacher, Shamila, to learn guitar, to listen to her play, to “travel” all together in stories and music.

“Music is like a sea. It is endless “, Shamila says with a smile. She mainly plays music from her homeland but also learns Greek and Italian songs.

Shamila is the personification of calm, certainty, dreams. She is like a fairy when she speaks to us, as if she is not exactly there but she is flying in space. And these places, where children dream all day long, desperately need fairies like Shamila.

We wish her every dream comes true, to become even better on the guitar as she wants, and to never lose the spirit and the appetite to learn and offer.

 * The “Homework and Creative Activities Centers” operate within the program “All Children in Education” implemented by SolidarityNow with the support and funding of UNICEF Greece.