Maryam Akbari

Maryam Akbari

"Life has been very difficult since I arrived in Europe," recounts Maryam (pseud, 18), an Afghan refugee who left her home in Iran and now lives in Greece. "I am in state of indecision and have an unknown future," she says. Maryam spends her days studying. Watching films and walking are calming, but her journey, which meant leaving her family behind at age 15, still haunts her. She has changed, too: “I used to be a weak person… I am no longer that person, I am exactly the opposite of my past.” Her experiences have "made me a stronger and braver woman who can now defend her rights and she does not stay silent in the face of opposition." Maryam's dreams have changed over time, as well. As a child she dreamt of becoming a doctor; however, for several years her only dream was "to reach my destination safely." Now, she hopes to "get out of this uncertain situation as soon as possible and be able to enter the university and fulfil my long-held dream of becoming a doctor so I can help people."

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Full interview

This interview was provided without the questions that were asked by the interviewer.

My name is Maryam Akbari, I was born in Iran. I am 18 years old and live with several other women in a Council House where owned by Praxis Inc. Home’s conditions are better than the refugee settlement, but I do not feel well living in a shared accommodation with tenants whose morals I have no idea about, therefore there is no privacy. I study, go to language School, and spend most of my time by studying. Watching movies and walking make me a bit calmer.

Life has been very difficult since I arrived in Europe, full of challenges, ups and downs, and uncertainty, but at the same time living in Europe has some advantages for me including my freedom, my independence and living based on my desired lifestyle. I have a vague feeling both good and bad, because I am in state of indecision and have an unknown future.

It was extremely hard for me when I left my family, but I had to start this journey and endure this distance for the sake of my future. I would never have thought to encounter these distresses and be able to overcome them. Hoping for a better future and to pass these difficulties could only help me to keep going on my journey.

Lockdown for Covid-19 is very hard for my mental health, I fall behind my studies because I must stay at home. Fearing of illness has demoralized me, and I strayed from my goal.

Past:

There were many reasons, but I cannot talk about the main reason because it is difficult for me to explain about. However, it can be said lack of security led to the starting of this journey. I get upset thinking about those times. Thinking about why my country is not such a a place for me to study or enjoy life alongside my family, some are the same age as me and why I had to leave my country, makes me upset.

This is the way in which asylum seekers start dangerous and scary events, but it was much scarier for me when I started my journey at only 15 years old. Reminding me of this journey causes nothing but pain and stress. I just want to know why life has led me in a direction where I must endanger my physical and mental wellbeing, I have no idea about my fault for being born in such a country and experiencing too many pains.

Reminding me of this journey causes me nothing but pain, stress, and anxiety the same as 3 years ago. When I am upset about something and alone with myself this journey with its events haunt me again. But I tell myself I am strong all this hardship I must get through that I should not give up for these small problems hopefully will be fixed and I should remain strong. I always try to keep fresh the memories of those times, so that I never get away from my goal because I did not arrive here easily.

These events have had a great impact on my life right now and have made me stronger and work harder to make it worthwhile to endanger my life for achieving it. I never imagined that I could come forward insomuch, but this hardship made me very strong and I still do not believe that I could overcome it.

The fact that I was able to set a goal for myself and try and endure the hardships for my own sake helped me to be able to overcome some of the problems. That is true, very times I wimp out of difficulties, but I do not despair.

Before I left home, my dream was becoming a successful doctor and through which I could help others and buy a house for my mother so that she can live comfortably. When I started this path, my dream was to reach my destination safely. At that time, I was just thinking about reaching my destination.

I used to be a weak person and I always thought I was a coward, but now I am no longer that former person, I am exactly the opposite of my past and I am very happy about that. This path made me a stronger and braver woman who can now defend her rights and she does not stay silent in the face of opposition.

Now my dream is to get out of this uncertain situation as soon as possible and be able to enter the university and fulfil my long-held dream of becoming a doctor so I can help people.

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Transcribed and translated by:

Edited by:

Mahroo Mizani, Elnaz Fatemi

Maddy Bazil

Transcribed and translated by: Mahroo Mizani, Elnaz Fatemi

Edited by: Maddy Bazil

Many 1000 Dreams interviews were not conducted in English. Their translation has not always been performed by professional translators. Despite great efforts to ensure accuracy, there may be errors.