About Refugees, By Refugees

Portrait of refugee Tina Moradi using their hands to pull their hoodie to hide their face

Tina Moradi

Pictures taken in:



Photo and interview by:




Sharmin Tolouimehr

“I wanted to live in peace. I wanted to sleep a night with peace, but I couldn’t,” says Tina Moradi, 38, an Iranian-born political refugee. A survivor of domestic abuse, she observed sharp social differences after arriving in Germany: “Women are respected here, while they are not respected in my country.” In Iran, she says, “A woman shrinks and feels worthless. It gives a feeling of annihilation.” Fleeing social and political oppression in her home country, Tina first spent two years in a poorly administered camp in Greece, during which time her husband’s violence became intolerable. “It is like a nightmare for me,” she recalls, “Till now I haven’t forgotten his cruelties.” While in the camp, she struggled to find the courage to separate from her abuser. She felt overwhelmed by “the feeling that I was nothing and I didn’t exist.” Motivated, however, by her son and her faith, and with some assistance from the government, she broke free. “I feel like I am so powerful now,” she says.

Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, sexism

full interview

Hi and how are you?
Thanks. I am fine. How about you?

Thanks. Are you ready to start

About accommodation. In what kind of house do you live in
I live in a camp and share a room with a lady and her son. Thank God. The situation is good. The place, food quality and their assistance is really good now.

With whom do you live?
My son, my friend, her son and I live in a room.

How do you spend your time here?
We spend our time thinking how I can get ourselves out of this condition.

Do you have a job?
Not now/ Not at this point.

What makes you happy?
My son’s progress. I wish my son could study, make his future and be a famous person in society. 

Since you entered Europe how has your life been?
Since I entered Europe, life hasn’t been normal here, I had a tough life… It has been two months since I came to Germany and life has become less difficult/better. However, before that it wasn’t like this.

Where were you before coming here?
I was in Greece.

How was the situation there?
The condition was really bad/awful for me and my son, I was at the camp for two years and the conditions there were very bad and it caused me to separate from my husband. 

What were the benefits of living here?
Living here is far better than living in my country and past life. For example, women are respected here, while they are not respected in my country. In Greece, the government didn’t help us to live our lives normally, but here in Germany, the government helps us.

What have been the tough things for you in this journey?
The tortures from my husband.

Would you describe how living here has made you feel?
Right now I feel happy and relieved that there is someone who supports me and my child.

How is being far from other members of the family make you feel?
It is very hard and I get depressed.  After all I don’t have any other option. I need to fight for my son.

How does the feeling of not belonging and discrimination affect you?
It has a bad impact.

Would you explain it? Explain it more.
From being disrespected in my country, a woman shrinks and feels worthless. It gives a feeling of annihilation. 

Have you ever imagined you could handle the situation?
I haven’t thought about it, but I could handle it.

How did you defeat it?
Only because my son is with me and I fight for him. I can adjust myself to every kind of situation because of him.

Do you think you already had the ability to fight with these conditions or did you inherit the ability, mechanism and resistance?
Mmm… I don’t know anything about it.

Do you think you have the ability to handle the situations you suffered?
The ability? Yes, I do have it.

The skills and power?
Yes, I do. I have the power and ability. I have grown in this way and become powerful. I was as well destroyed

Now about your past. Why did you leave your country?
Because of the problems I had with my husband.

Would you explain what happened?
My spouse wasn’t in a good situation in Iran.

How did you feel at that time?
I felt worthless and hopeless. It was my country, but I could not live there. I was an Iranian citizen and I belonged to Iran, but I could not live there. The government didn’t give me any rights. 

How was your trip/journey to Europe?
Very hard. It was really hard to leave my homeland and come here.

Were there any tough situations that you want to talk about it? 

Yes. The difficulties.
The tough moment is when I remember my husband. It is like a nightmare for me. Till now I haven’t forgotten his cruelties. 

How did you feel at that time?
The feeling that I was nothing and I didn’t exist.

Do you often think about these events?
Yes, A lot

At what time?
At times when I look at my son, at times when difficulties arise, at times when I am alone.

Are there any specific things that you think about?
There is always the question of ‘why in my mind. Why is my life ruined? I could have lived a good life, and my son lost his father.

How do you feel when you think about it?
The feeling of being broken down and upset. Does God see me?  Do I not exist?

Does the situation you face today affect your life? How?
The interview?

No. The situation that you are in today.
Right now, yes. It affects me. I try to relax myself. And there are friends who help me and my husband cannot offend me anymore.

Have you ever imagined you could handle the situation?
No. I haven’t. I didn’t think so.

How could you have managed your life and survived?
I rely on my God. I wanted help from my God. I found God and I know he helps me. 

Have you developed a strategy or coping mechanism to get through the hard days and the overwhelming memories?
Yes, I have.

From where did you get the strength and unity when you wanted to do a very specific will for the path?
First, the divine God whom my father believes. Then the support from the government.

Except them were there any other supporters?
That helped me? No one.

What was your dream before the event that led you to escape from home? You can say my dream was this. You can start with this phrase.
There was no dream. Just I wanted to live in peace. I wanted to sleep a night with peace, but I couldn’t. 

When you left your country what was you dream for the future? You can say my dream was to start with.
I had a dream that when I’d leave Iran I’ll have a good future for my son. My son should have a happy life and be safe. Now I love that my son improves and has a bright future. 

How old is your son?
He is nine years old. He didn’t have a bright future in Iran because he was considered a foreigner.

We’ve come to sum up the questions: what would you describe as your strengths?
Can you explain it more?

Who helped you and supported you? What were your strong suites?
For coming this way…? … I suffered a lot. I didn’t have the ability to start the trip, but my son made me be hopeful and powerful. 

Have you kept them?
The strengths?

Yes. The ones that gave you power.
Yes. I always practice them. I watch my son and he gives me power and makes me hopeful in life.

What you went through seems really difficult. Do you feel like you grew in any way as a result of this experience, or has anything positive come out of it?
Yes, I do. I feel like I am so powerful now.

Now what hopes and dreams do you have for the future? You can say with “my dream is this”.
My dream is that my son will be able to have a chance to study and have a better future and become a beneficial figure for society. 

Inshaallh,(With the help of God) it will be like this. I am so thankful for your responses to these questions. Do you want to add something so that European people can better understand the life of asylum seekers here?
Firstly, I am thankful to them because they accept the refugees like us. I want them to take more care of the refugees because they suffered in order to come here and leave their countries. They had problems and couldn’t live in their own country. They should take care of them and help them.

Thank you.
You are welcome.

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.