In Greek migrant camp, a young Afghan woman finds strength in art


In a tiny classroom in a migrant camp in Greece, 18-year-old Roya Rasuli teaches a bustling group of young ladies how you can paint. For Rasuli, it is also a lesson in ladies’s empowerment.

“What is your message for ladies, for women?” Rasuli, who was born in Iran to Afghan refugees, asks her class.

“To be sturdy!” one of many ladies shouts.

Hanging on the blue wall behind her is a few of Rasuli’s personal paintings, together with a portray of the green-eyed “Afghan Girl” whose iconic 1985 photograph in National Geographic in a purple headband turned a image of Afghanistan’s wars. Rasuli painted her with out a mouth.

“I needed to point out how ladies are in Afghanistan as a result of they can’t communicate, no one listens to them and so they haven’t got rights,” stated Rasuli, her fingers stained in black paint.

“I feel that is the state of affairs for a lot of ladies. Maybe in Syria, possibly in Iraq, possibly in Pakistan, possibly in some nation in Europe.”

Rasuli had by no means picked up a paintbrush earlier than arriving in Greece three years in the past however she has since taught herself to attract.

Rasuli shows one of her drawings during a painting class at a camp for refugees and migrants in Thiva, Greece. Photo: Reuters Rasuli reveals one in all her drawings throughout a portray class at a camp for refugees and migrants in Thiva, Greece. Photo: Reuters

She together with about 500 asylum-seekers – most of them Afghans – reside in the Thiva camp, one in all dozens arrange throughout Greece since Europe’s 2015 migration disaster, when almost a million refugees and migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and past arrived on the continent by means of Greece.

She leaves the camp at 5am for an hour-and-a-half lengthy bus experience to the Athens School of Fine Arts for sophistication, from the place she hopes to obtain a scholarship to check full-time.

“When I begin to paint (it is) like I’m touring in one other world, in one other place that there’s peace,” stated Rasuli, who additionally taught herself English.

Roya Rasuli draws on a wall at a camp for refugees in Thiva, Greece. Photo: Reuters Roya Rasuli attracts on a wall at a camp for refugees in Thiva, Greece. Photo: Reuters

Another one in all her work, in the fashion of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, reveals a woman in the standard blue Afghan burqa taking part in the guitar.

“I needed to point out that they are often no matter they need… They are free to do something, to consider their energy and what they love to do. It’s good be themselves, it is good to talk,” she stated.

Rasuli, whose class in the Thiva camp in central Greece meets each week due to a Unicef-funded program run by Greek charity Solidarity Now, says she hopes to encourage different young ladies to pursue their targets.

“I modified my life with my hopes and my desires,” she stated. “I’ll attempt my finest to point out them that they’ll do no matter they need, to be free.” – Reuters

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