“I chose art because it allows me to see the world differently. A better world. But I didn’t choose to be a refugee.” - Zeinab, from Afghanistan, currently living in Athens.
The day she and Pijvak reached Moria’s camp on the Greek islands over a year and a half ago, she felt a little bit relieved. “Even though this isn’t what I wanted for my baby but at least I slept under my own tent,” she said. The days passed and it was about time they find a more dignified place to start again as a family.
Painting is Zeinab’s passion. "Back in Afghanistan, I only had a small notebook. On that notebook, I used to draw whatever came to my mind. Little by little, I developed a humble technique. It wasn’t a professional technique but it was mine. I loved drawing and painting” she told us, smiling. One day, on her way to pick up some winter clothes in the camp, Zeinab passed by a classroom full of paintings. A glimpse of hope amidst the challenging conditions she and every human on the move were enduring in Moria. That day, she signed up for the course offered by the 'Hope Project' and started attending painting classes.
“In one hour you’ll move to your house in Oropos. A sentence I’ll never forget. A house. It doesn’t matter where. It’s happening now, in an hour!” reiterated Zeinab. This is where she delivered her firstborn Selena before the family was relocated to Athens.
Today Zeinab's father, mother, two brothers, and three sisters are in Iran. Every now and then, they send some money to Zeinab as a means of support while her husband Pijvak is still looking for a job in Athens. “I wish they had the means to join us so we live together as a big family again!”.
“We dream of a humble yet beautiful house. A small car to take Selena on road trips and show her the beautiful side of the world. To take her to school every morning and pick her up every afternoon. A small atelier to paint and paint more. To add as many beautiful colours to this world as I can. A free world where I want Selena to grow safely. I want her to be free and to make her own choices in life. I want her to believe in whatever she chooses to believe in. I want her to have the freedom we never had back home. To believe in humanity, beyond any ideology.”
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