Fahim was born in Afghanistan. A professional soccer player, he used to play for the national team there until he started getting death threats from the Taliban. He made the heart-wrenching decision to leave his brothers in Kabul and escape.
On January 1st, 2015, Fahim paid a smuggler to help him get out of Afghanistan. He traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and eventually made it to Greece. However, the journey wasn't an easy one. On his first attempt crossing from Turkey to Greece by boat, they were on the water for over five hours until the boat began to sink and everyone had to throw their belongings into the ocean.
“It’s 99% chance we’re going to die,” he says. “But because of God, we survive; the police came to survive us and we go back to Turkey.”
Each time they tried again, it was either too dangerous to cross or the police would catch them, sending them back. It took him five tries, eventually reaching the Greek island of Samos and then taking a ferry to Athens and on to the Skaramangas refugee camp outside the city, where he currently lives.
He says the conditions in Skaramangas were miserable at first, with no hot water, terrible food, flimsy tents, not nearly enough bathrooms, and very little hope. But instead of giving up and being miserable, Fahim decided to form a soccer team with others at the camp and to start teaching kids how to play as well.
“I never live in such bad situation; I never believe how people can live like this.”
When Fahim heard about our photography program, he was overjoyed. He had always had a passion for photography and was desperate to learn more. Since our program ended, he hasn't stopped taking photos. He says he fills up his days either working or out taking pictures of Athens, his friends, the camps, or the ocean.
In April 2017, Fahim found out he was approved for reunification with his mother in Germany, who he hasn't seen in over 6 years. When we last spoke to him in October, he said he was still waiting to hear back from the German government about when his flights would be. For now, he's teaching kindergarten children, taking photos and, of course, still playing soccer.
August - October 2017
Prints of the students' work are available for purchase here. 100% of the proceeds go directly back to the students, giving them a sense of financial freedom to help them in their journey to a better, safer, and happier life.