Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

“I find myself through writing. When I write, I feel that I can say some things that I couldn’t say in real life” 

“My dream is to live in Greece and to work as a playwright”, Zainab Annan says confidently, holding a blue notebook in which she writes her texts. “I wrote a poem for my mother”, she adds.

Zainab is 17 years old and comes from Lebanon. She is an extremely talented teenage girl. She loves literature, poetry, writing and fine arts. She has been living in Greece with her mother and her little brother for the last two years. She is in the third year of high school. Her favorite lessons are Mathematics, English and French. In the afternoons, after school, she takes foreign language classes at SolidarityNow’s Blue Refugee Center in Thessaloniki. Zainab can be characterized by maturity; a quality not everyone has at this age. She listens to opera and classical music. She prefers reading a book or drawing manga (Japanese comics), hanging out with her friends. During this time, she has made a very good Greek friend. “Her name is Chrysanthi. It took me a month to learn how to pronounce her name. Chrysanthi taught me many Greek words”, she notes.

At the age of 13 she read Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables”. This book influenced her and made her want to be a playwright. “I have two favorite writers. The first one is Astrid Lindgren, a well-known children’s author from Sweden and the second one is Victor Hugo. My favorite book is Les Misérables”, she says. “I find myself through writing. When I write, I feel that I can say some things that I couldn’t say in real life. I have written about many subjects, like the environment, women’s rights, the relationships between young persons and their parents, social media and advertising”, she adds. Sometimes she reads her articles to her mother or to her friends. However, as she tells us she prefers not to re-read them.

SolidarityNow team recognized her talent in writing and encouraged her to develop it. “I’m very happy now that I’m talking to you”, she says shyly. We asked her when was the last time she cried. “It’s been a long time, I have forgotten. I haven’t cried since I was in Lebanon. I don’t cry now, I feel stronger”, she underlines. Lebanon is far from Greece, but Zainab doesn’t forget what ties her with her motherland. One of her real heroes comes from Lebanon. Georges Khabbazand is a Lebanese actor, writer, director, comedian, musician, playwright, producer and Professor of Theater. “I like Khabbazand because he captures the joy and pain of human experience in a theatrical play”, she concludes.

On Mother’s Day, Zainab wrote a poem for her mother. The title of the poem is “Love and Affection”. She wanted to share it with us.

“Love and Affection”

I’m asking time for you.

It responds with one word.

This word expresses you,

for everything you did,

for your belief in me that I am the best

for your patience in the days when I did not have the conscience.


Everything that I have done, or I will do

Are not compared to the sacrifice you offered me

Are not compared to the devotion, the affection, the tenderness.

My words don’t express me as I would like.

But that is all I can offer to you.