Meet Mahdi and Yasir: Two special children from Kara Tepe


Like many other Afghans, Mahdi, 16 years old and Yaser, 7 years old were forced from their home in October 2018. Together with their family, they travelled all the way to Europe, seeking a safe place they could call home. 

“We hoped we could find that safe place to settle down and start a new life. For us, for the family and for every human on the move”, said Zahra, the older sister.

Lesvos was their first stop in Greece. Though they were aware it wasn't going to be their final destination, the warmth of the community culture in Kara Tepe campUs made them feel safe and loved.

Despite their special needs, Mahdi and Yasir have always felt lucky being surrounded by the ones who love them the most in the world; their father, mother and sister.

Upon their arrival, these two smart and friendly boys joined our SPACES program. There, they’ve been practicing, learning and playing everyday. 

“Every time I mention SPACES or that I’m there, I can’t but remember Mahdi, Yasir and their family. They had become our family too. I wish everyone can see the efforts these people on the move are making in order to start a new, better life, in a new place. They're an example to us all, said Anna, our special sports coordinator in Kara Tepe.

“Whenever I speak about our special sports program, I immediately recall every single smile I’ve seen on these lovely faces. Especially Mahdi’s. I would say he is one of the most special kids I’ve worked with. From him, I learned never to give up in life. Because he never did”, said Stratos, our campUs coordinator in Kara Tepe.

The family now moved to Athens. Though livelihood there remains challenging for them, they’re very grateful to have found a home where they can live again as a family.

Mahdi speaks four languages; Farsi, English, German and Greek. It was so easy for him to connect with all community members. He misses the community and wants to visit us whenever possible. Together with his brother Yasir, they would love to reconnect with the friends they made there and spend some time within the community that taught them a lot and treated them like “heroes".

Zahra, 22 years old, has been attending a Greek school while on Lesvos and speaks fluent Greek. She is currently looking for a job to help out her family. The Covid-19 restrictions aren’t helping much. But just like every human on the move we met on the Greek islands, Zahra is a very resilient girl. She only hopes her brother Mahdi can find an inclusive school that can accommodate his special needs, in Athens.

“I feel a little bit sad because our friends are now far away from us but we were given the chance to have a home and we're grateful to have it. I hope I can meet them again soon. I hope that from my heart”, she said.

To Mahdi, Yasir, Zahra and their family we send the biggest and warmest hug... From all our hearts. To their resilience. To their humbleness. To their grateful smiles and words.

“A better life for every human is what we pray for. And a big thank you for every human who helped every human on the move and helped us stay safe and warm. Have a better life yourself. It seems that everyone needs it now”, a warm wish from the whole family. 

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