Letters from afar

Credits: YOUTHShare

If NEET represent a largely neglected social group, this is even more so in the case of the YOUTHShare project target groups. It is crucial to note that unemployed mothers, refugees and migrants, aside their predominant social label, are unemployed too.

What do they think? What are their views? How do they come to terms with their situation? The YOUTHShare project receives “letters from afar”; letters from NEETs that are not far in terms of distance, but conceptually far. Through those letters they break the “conceptual barriers” and come closer to us, through their own words.

I am a refugee from Afghanistan, Mohammad Mahdi Alizada, this is an essay about the age I live in. A year of my life past with me living as a nomad. What I, my fellow refugees and people in general, are experiencing in this age of life is full of fluctuations, wonders, crises like, the Covid-19 pandemic, sweetness, and bitterness. According to people, life plays differently. Some are optimistic about the current situation and some are pessimistic. Some are praising their lucks, and some are crying for their misfortune. This is the most fluctuating time of life for people around the world. People are wondering about the countless number of situations of fairness and unfairness, equalities and inequalities, goodness and badness, opportunities and threats, happiness and sadness.

The world is facing and struggling with plenty of different crises. Crises like climate change, the Corona virus outbreak, influx of refugees and migrants from different parts of the world due to proxy war, famine, discriminations, each of which has its potential impacts on the daily life and the future life of people.

The 2021 New Year’s Eve was celebrated differently and mostly individually compared to the celebrations of past years. The new year started with hopes and disappointment. The Covid-19 pandemic reshaped communities since it was diagnosed for the first time on 11/Jan/2020 in the Wuhan city in China. People are experiencing a different daily life than they used to. A life that people never thought about, an isolated life; the 2-meter distance, tough movement restrictions, prohibition of physical contact, wearing masks have been mandatory for more than a year. Everyone is demanded to fight for stopping the spread of Covid-19. People are counting the seconds to get back to a normal life. A normal life needs no wearing masks, keeping distance, movements restrictions, a life in which gatherings and parties should cause guilt, and people are not addressed as offenders. The pandemic brought a lot of new rules and regulations on the paper and in practice all over the world, some of which are mentioned above, like wearing masks, social distance, avoid gathering. Thousands of different businesses were shut down due to the outbreak and the authorities’ applied rules to restrain the spread of virus. Millions of people lost their jobs, millions infected with the virus, and millions lost their lives around the world.

Many countries failed to control the spread of the virus; the health care system broke down in some countries. Businesses replaced the office work with remote working platforms. Almost everyone who still had his/her job is supposed to work from home. The schooling and educational system shifted from a physical class to a digital class. Anyway, the pandemic reshaped the society in different ways. In the meantime, it benefited some businesses. The pandemic created opportunities for some lucky businesses, there was a whole world market for face masks, hand sanitizer, and some other hygienic stuff. And of course, some digital markets benefited during this period, including delivery services, etc.

It is a strange age of life for people, while being isolated, distant and worrying about the pandemic. Countries tackle with various crises, climate change, the pandemic, refugee and migrant crises, which they almost cripple the countries in their efforts to resist them.

Credits: YOUTHShare

I would like to write a brief biography to tell you about my story. My family has grown me up in the south province of Afghanistan; a geographical location which is very far away from the centre of that province. I’ve been there for seventeen or eighteen years and in these years, I was going to school regularly and after school I was studying English. I was dreaming and wishing many things for my life and tried for many goals in my life. But sometimes life doesn’t go the way we think.

On that territory lives the Hazara nation, whose religion is Islam; they are following one the two main branches of the Muslim religion. In a territory very close to my region named Gillan Talibans existed since 1997. After defeating other groups in the civil war, they built their academy, their hospital and there was also a place in which they were arranging meetings. There was also their graveyard where they were bringing dead bodies to bury there.

Despite all these, our people were living their life. Eventually one day in November 2018 a group attacked my area, in the name of Taliban, to occupy our territory. Our people were considered as pagans for them. They massacred people in our region. They did a genocide over there. Thousands of people became lost their homes and many many people lost their dears in that attack. Those circumstances separated me from my family, from my region and from my country.

I fled to the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul as a survivor from the attack. On that time that I was adolescent. After passing extremely hard days, I tried to get an adult passport to take visa and then travel to Iran. After many days I had all of the stuff needed for travel. There was nowhere to go apart from Iran. Eventually I travelled to Iran with thousands of misfortunes.

I used to work there for eight or nine months. After I gained some money I travelled illegally to Turley and to Europe. After a long journey I’m in Greece now. I’ve been here over a year. In this period of time I’ve done many incredible things. For instance I’ve been studying English, I’m doing theater, I became a Yoga teacher and above all I’ve got to know many amazing and wonderful people here, and still many many things left for me to do.

I would like to share my dreams and wishes with you. When I was younger I used to dream a lot. Since that time some of my dreams are still left there for me. For example I have my family that I want to rescue them from a place in which they’re living in fear that they will be attacked again.

I want to save thousands of people who are sacrificed innocently due to dirty politics in my country, Afghanistan.

I want to see their children go to schools, I want to see them studying and improving, I want to see how they will defeat terrorism with the power of their pens. I want to see their bright future.

Credits: YOUTHShare

My name is Masume, I’m from Afghanistan but I was born in Iran in 1995. I’ve been raised in a Muslim family. When I was 5 my parents got divorce. I was not old enough to choose with which one of them I want to live. Besides it’s the man who has the right of custody. So, me and my elder sister lived with my father. After a while both parents got married, and my father decided to go back to Afghanistan to live and stay. I was 7 when we’ve gone there. At the beginning living there was the most difficult thing we’ve ever experienced but after a while we got used to. We’ve built our own house for the first time in our whole life and completed it bit by bit.

We started going to school (a new built school with empty classrooms, no chairs, no desks) even not normal number of students. Each class consisted of a maximum of 20 students and minimum of 5 students.

However the good point was that, with all those difficulties, we used to enjoy and be happy because there was no fear of no registration just because of being an immigrant. there is a lot about my country to say but I just rather pass it quickly (reminding that time makes me homesick). We lived in Afghanistan for 8 years and then my father due to some reasons made another decision to migrate to Iran again…

At the time we’ve arrived Iran we had no legal documents, no house, actually nothing. We made a new life with all difficulties in another country in which we didn’t belong. But nothing was enjoyable or nice there. The whole time I was living in Iran I used to find myself a depressed, disappointed and useless girl who was never going to achieve her goals. I haven’t been allowed to go to school so I worked. This thought drove me crazy… a future without knowledge.

Then an angel appeared in my life, an angel who I lost when I was 5 (my lovely mother). She has encouraged me as much as she could to start my education. She taught me how to manage earning money and learning as well.

So I’ve done my best for a year and then I became a student in a state school. My scores have never been great because I used to work as well, but I could get my diploma and I was accepted to university in computer engineering major. It was a state university but I had to pay due to being an immigrant. I had to pay for dormitory too. And I had to work hard…

Lack of money causes a lot of problems in a family. It was that lack that caused my big decisions, that I was looking for any way, to get out of Iran which was such an unbearable hell for me. My father decided to migrate again and again for his daughter and for the good of the rest of family too.

Now here we are! I’ve been accepted by Greek government, I’m working here as a translator, I’m learning Greek and English, I have my goals and I’m going to achieve them one day, which is not too far anymore…


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