On this International Women’s Day 2022 we look at two young women staying in one of the Long Term Accommodation Sites, Fereshte and Khatereh and how they are using their skills to empower both themselves and their community.
On International Women’s Day 2022 UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for guaranteed quality education for every girl, massive investments in women’s training and decent work, effective action to end gender-based violence, and universal health care. Mr. Guterres highlighted the contribution that women have made to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, hailed the ideas, innovations and activism that are changing our world for the better, and welcomed more women leaders across all walks of life.
With this in mind we can take a closer look at the community around us and determine that communities are not bound to be a fixed pattern on the landscape and should be considered as a fluctuating entity; communities flourish when women are empowered and supported. On this International Women’s Day we look at two young women staying in one of the Long Term Accommodation Sites, Fereshte and Khatereh and how they are using their skills to empower both themselves and their community. Feresthe is teaching English and Khatereh uses her skills as a photographer.
Fereshte, a young woman now 18 years old arrived with her family in Lesbos as an adolescent and started writing a diary. She understood there would be no better valuable choice than to take her life in her own hands. As the pen is stronger than the sword and an international language is a password to adapt to a new country, Fereshte started writing a diary at the same time that she started teaching English to her community. She says:
“For me teaching is important because I feel I do not waste my day and also I want to help people to be able to integrate and find a job in a new country as soon as they can”. In fact, the women and men who follow her class are all willing to learn as much as possible to be ready for a new start as soon as they receive their residence card. After the daily teaching hour Fereshte joins a nearby place where she teaches a dancing class for women old and young.
Khatereh Vaziri who came from Athens to Northern Greece not long ago has now joined Fereshte’s class. Her whole family, herself, her husband, two little daughters and a son are now together and safe after the long travel from Afghanistan where the couple had moved to. They went through a very difficult period in the Province of Kapisa and were forced to flee for political reasons.
Khatereh’s life and that of her family is changing for the better with the support she receives in Greece now through ASB. Moreover, she has a special talent for photography that she generously shares with us:
“My aim is to improve my life, to do something enjoyable and at night I think about the future, about the pictures I will take and about the right angle that would make the picture better. I started taking pics from my children, to photograph them and I showed these pictures to my neighbor who liked them very much. It filled me with courage, and I started photographing her children as well. In the end many people in the camp asked me to take a portrait of their children. The photographic art needs adapted surroundings: to obtain the expected result you must think of a background and a good objective as to share the atmosphere and the spirit of the photo with the world”.
It is striking how this young 25-year-old mother of two is concentrated on her art and not at all a coincidence that she won a DSLR camera, receiving the first photography Award in a photography contest organized by the Karpos project. This project was preceded by a workshop on photography and video editing, in the framework of the Erasmus + Program entitled “Speak Up – Media for Inclusion”.
Khatereh’s black and white winning picture (below) is deeply moving and evocative, it is a picture that awakens profound feelings while voicing and stirring questions foremost through the depiction of simple daily life. It shows the existence of a mother and her child in an outdoor space where domestic activities are going on and life goes on even at a standstill with basic means. She tells us how this photo was made: “ I did the installation, me, clothes, a washing basin and my daughter was sitting a little further playing. I prepared the camera, the tripod, sat down and my husband pushed the button”.
With the support of the International Organisation for Migration in Greece.