"“Bahar” was born in Afghanistan but she had to leave the country when she was 6 months old. She lived most of her life in Iran and in exile. She is 24 years old and comes from a big family. She came in Greece in 2017, almost one and a half years ago. After a short stay in a Greek island’s hotspot, she came in Athens where she struggles to make her dreams come true.
“Bahar” is a very dynamic young woman, full of energy and positive thinking. She told me she was the one to convince her parents and family members to leave Iran: “One day I gathered all my family and I told my brothers and sisters: look at our father. If we stay here, we will grow up and be exactly like him. There is no possibility to change our fate. Is this what you want?” Sometimes she feels responsible for all the difficulties they have faced and still facing since they came in Greece, but she does not regret it and hopes for the best: “I like to set goals in my life. Every day I write down one goal. Exactly three years before we left Iran, on the same month, I had written it down in my diary, that on three years from now we will leave.”
“Bahar” has been trained as a seamstress in Iran, following her mother’s profession and will. Although she didn’t like it in the beginning, her job experience in a well-known designer made her change her attitude. Realizing her talent and skills, she decided to attend a school for fashion design. It was not an easy decision, since in order for her to find the money to pay the fees, she had to persuade her previous boss to give her a loan. Her boss loaned her the money but to assure that “Bahar” would pay her back, she kept her passport. Until today, she hasn’t taken it back.
Her last job in Iran was in a local clothes industry. She was designing and cutting patterns. Asking her what are her favorite colors, she replies: “I like green and red, but when I design I usually use grey, black, blue black. This kind of colors. I don’t know why”. She shows me some of her designs. Very beautiful, original and of a modern aesthetics. A black long dress with a colorful embroidery in the front, drew my attention. “Bahar” explained that it is a typical traditional embroidery of her country.
During the last period, “Bahar” has been working in a Greek dressmaker’s lab. Although “Bahar“ does not speak Greek and her employer does not speak English, they manage to cooperate. However, “Bahar” states that she is not treating her in a good manner and that she makes her work too much: “She all the time tells me do this, do that, and speaks me in a bad manner. I am a human too, I can’t stand it. I am just staying because I am in need of the money.” In parallel, “Bahar” is working tirelessly to make her dream come true, that is to put on a fashion show in Greece with her own designed clothes. She keeps designing and trying to find a place for the show and to gather money to buy the garments needed to make the clothes. She is very optimistic and while being in Greece she has met different people who are willing to help her. When I ask her why she wants to hold this fashion show and what is her ultimate goal, she replies: “My goal is to create a very good work portfolio so as to apply for a student visa in Canada. I want to continue my studies in fashion design. I never had the chance to study. In Iran I didn’t have the right because I was from Afghanistan. I want to go to the university. I like reading and learning and I always read.”
Being a very sociable person, who enjoys meeting new people, the hardest thing for “Bahar” in the beginning was not being able to communicate because of the language gap. She does not yet speak Greek but WEMIN’s courses have helped her start reading. However, after coming in Greece she has learned English quite well and she can in that way communicate with people from different nationalities.