"My name is Khatereh. I'm from Afghanistan but I was born in Iran and grew up there. When we came to Athens we were living in a camp. I was so tired about everything and I was hopeless. I forgot my wishes and dreams! I became a girl who was so sad and depressed because I thought it was so hard to make a new life. We lost everything. Yeah those days were so hard when I came to to Athens.
Every night I had bad dreams and I remembered the hard way that we came from Iran. I couldn't forget it. I couldn't live like that and day by day it became harder for me...so I decided to start teaching painting to the children in the camp. I started to practice a lot. I didn't have any experience with teaching, but I knew I could be a good teacher for the children. We were painting, playing, and singing together! I loved them and I had to be with them every day!
Unfortunately I lost two of my students in the camp and it was so painful for me when I see that all the refugees left their countries because of better life and they run away from the war to be alive, but they lost their lovely children here! Parisa and Mehdi were so young and they could have lived so many more years , but in this hard situation they died. It was so hard for me and I couldn't believe that they are not alive any more. It was hard to see the children growing up in camp like that.
Life is beautiful for me when all the people are living in peace and nobody kills each other! I hope that day will come that everyone can live in peace with their family. I feel that I really grew up enough and my heart is strong now. I have to accept that one day everyone leave us and we will have just sad memories. Painting and photography opened a new door of the world for me and changed me. I'm so happy now that I learned so many things. When I take photos I always have energy, I am never tired. I think it's so beautiful that we can capture moments like sunset and sunrise! When night comes and the sun is not in the sky anymore, I see the photos that I took and enjoy them!
Every day the sun comes and goes and just a good photo can capture the beautiful moment. Like breath and life that going on and just the memories will stay with us! But I was born like a refugee and grew up as a refugee and the best days of my life are gone. When you want to know me and understand me, look at my life through my suffering eyes!"
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.