Through her eyes: A refugee's wish to be safe

Refugee tents on a former sports ground in Athens, Greece

There are 62,000 people who are currently living in Greece as refugees. It is easy to forget that every one of them is an individual. They all have a story to tell.

In Athens, Greece, CARE gave refugee women and girls a camera and some basic photography training – and invited them to record their stories. Leila, aged 22, from Afghanistan, was one of them.

This is the story she wanted to share with you.

I live in a camp. I think it used to be a sports centre. Now it is filled with tents in rows.

The living conditions are hard. I sleep with my family in a tent. Sharing one tent with five persons is difficult. You are never alone and do not have much space.

Inside a tent at a refugee camp

I don’t mind it myself though. It is not so bad for me. I am an adult person who can understand what is happening and why it is happening.

Mostly I am worried about the children. They don’t have toys or playgrounds and they play with empty cans and stones.

Sometimes when it is too hot, you cannot sit inside the tent, so children go and play near the sea. Across the street there is a beach and children go there to freshen up a bit. Afterwards they come back to the camp and fall asleep.

Children playing in the sea

For me, it is long walks outside the camp that make my day. In Afghanistan or Iran I could never do this. I always had to walk with a man and I couldn’t go wherever I wanted to go. In Greece, I enjoy this freedom.

At first I didn’t feel very comfortable. I felt like people were staring at me. I would sit on a bench and the person next to me would leave.

But as the days went by, things started changing. After all, maybe it was me who felt uncomfortable and not the Greeks I met on my walks. I take long walks by the sea and in the city centre. And I love the fact that I can find flowers everywhere.

Taking a walk at sunset

My favourite time of the day is when the sun goes down. The colours of the sky make me feel a bit blue but at the same time calm.

Every evening I get this feeling. It is like a deep sadness.

A couple sitting on a hillside

But then I take my long walks and see how beautiful life around me is and I feel better. Like the life of this couple I met on a hill close to the Acropolis. They are safe and loved.

I wish some day all of us will be like them, safe and loved.

About this story

This story is part of the Photography Project “Through Her Eyes” implemented by CARE Greece in collaboration with the Melissa Network, which set out to give you the opportunity to view urban life for refugee women and girls in Greece through their eyes. Five women and girls provide unique and personal insights into their daily lives through their photos. Their names have been changed for protection reasons. CARE provides emergency assistance to refugees stranded in Greece including cash, protection and accommodation. The project is funded by the European Commission.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.