We are 3 sisters who came with our family as refugees from Afghanistan to Greece 2 years ago. Our names are Karime (19), Ely (18), and Adele (17). We were born as Afghan refugees in Iran and we have been refugees all our lives.
For 18 months we've been living in a squat in Athens but soon we will be evicted because politics in Greece are shifting further right. The squat was never 100% safe because it is illegal but it was better than the Athens refugee camp with men throwing bricks and knives around our tent. The police have raided many squats here in recent months and we will lose our home once again.
Post-war Afghanistan was too difficult, we all shared a bed to stay warm, we had little food. The school we went to was subject to water poisoning and acid attacks by men who don't believe women should be educated. Women cannot work in Afghanistan.
Our family decided that our only option for a decent life was to reach Europe. We walked together, with our mother too, but not our father who is too sick to travel, across the mountains of Iran and Turkey, often hiking overnight from 8pm until 8am as it was safer in darkness.
We rode with smugglers in the back of vans and the crowded boats, like you’ve seen on the news, to reach Greece. We were caught many times by police, we slept outside, we sheltered in places not clean enough for animals, and experienced things that we are all now trying to forget.
When we reached Greece we were held in Moria camp on Lesvos island. The conditions were unbearable. Our only protest option was to go on hunger strike for a month. Some of us were taken to hospital but it was worth it because it worked and we were so happy to get passes to reach Athens.
We were really grateful when we found a squat here. It became our home, we made new friends, met volunteers who helped us. Here we formed a creative collective with our girlfriends, making zines and videos, writing poetry and giving performances, because we want to tell our stories and express our situation so people can understand our experiences.
We are trying to find work but jobs are short in Greece. Our money from EU has recently stopped. Our sister Shafi works in tailoring but she earns €3.50 per hour and it’s not enough to pay rent even for one person, let alone for an apartment for our family.
We have hope but we need help to get started with a rental deposit (3 months’ rent) and the first month of rent. Then we can use our creativity to come up with more solutions for making money.
Now we are thinking about how we can turn creative projects into products for selling online and other ways of supporting ourselves.
We have started to find our feet - Adele going to school, Ely teaching skateboarding, Karime training with Global Girl Media – but we are not yet in a position to earn enough money for rent, this is why we are asking for help.
Any money we receive will be used to house our family, to allow Adele to stay in school, and enable Ely and Karime to find new ways of earning.
Donations of all sizes will be received with our greatest gratitude.
THANK YOU FOR READING ♡ ♡ ♡
Karime, Ely, Adele