The Nour family!

Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

This solidarity home hosts the Nour family – the father is called Nour, after his mother’s name. Mother and son are now in Athens together, but it’s not just the two of them. Nour has made his own family with Gofran and they have two children; the 3-year-old Mira and Elias, 7 months old, who was born in Greece.

In the middle of 2016, they all made the known trip from Syria’s Duma to Turkey, and then arrived at Greece with first stop at the island of Lesvos. Greece, and Europe in general, represented for them their rescue from war; the living hope for a safe life again.

Today, I will cook mandi and tabbouleh”. We will eat with them. Grandmother Nour invites us while the young couple of Nour and Gofran reassure us that we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to taste her cooking! Until lunch time comes, a table full of fruit has already been set in front of us. Grandma doesn’t stop bringing in dishes, peeling apples, bananas, pomegranates and pears. “We always eat a lot of fruit. My mother has taught us that it is better than food“, says Nour.

They are great hosts and feel lucky being in Athens living in one of the six solidarity homes under the same name program implemented by SolidarityNow, in collaboration and with the support of the organization Help Refugees.

While the fruits are being peeled, Gofran tries to talk with us in Greek. She’s learning the language, like all “the Nours”, by attending Greek courses offered to the program’s beneficiaries by SolidarityNow educational teams. “The National Bank is between the pharmacy and the post office“. In today’s lesson, this is the sentence Gofran must learn to write, and has already learned to say. “I walk straight and on my right-hand is the supermarket and on the left, the pharmacy“.

Gofran wants to learn Greek, find a job and stay in Greece. At the same time, she confesses that she wants to learn piano and that she is a painter! She loves painting! Her father played the accordion and thinks she looks just like him and therefore, loves arts. But the discouraged Gofran, who is only 20 years old and mother of two, is still afraid to dream. She is now trying to change the belief that she doesn’t have the right to dream – “let things come, I don’t need to dream” – now she feels safe again.

And Grandma Nour wants to stay in Greece. She likes it very much, she thinks that Greeks and Syrians are very much alike and will do everything she can to find a job and offer her support to the family. She believes that she will also manage to bring her daughter to Greece; her beloved daughter who is still in Syria with her family.

Recently, grandma Nour and Gofran attended a photo seminar organized in collaboration with the Hellenic Center for Photography for the beneficiaries of SolidarityNow hosting programs. With the use of her own photos, Grandma Nour created a collage and wrote a short text related to her daughter, their unique relationship and expressed her feelings caused to their separation.

In the meantime, Nour continues to fix things in the house – he is very young and eager to start a new life in Greece. In Syria he was a baker; he believes he can be a baker in Greece as well.

Mandi and tabbouleh are almost ready, and the table looks wonderful. Gofran has Elias in her arms; she shows us our seats and we all enjoy homemade Syrian food. Life flows the same as it does in every home where there is a warm, welcoming and loving family, wherever its members come from.

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*Solidarity Homes is a program implemented by SolidarityNow in collaboration and with the support of the organization Help Refugees. Through the program, which was initiated in June 2017, accommodation is offered to the most vulnerable population groups – Greeks and refugees – on the sole criterion of their urgent need.