Choosing to Dream | “I want to become a lawyer, defending the rights of women, refugees and immigrants”

Fawzia came to Greece from Afghanistan at the age of 17. Today, she is 19 years old and a mother of a 1.5-year-old girl. She is also a volunteer in Generation 2.0 RED, as a teacher’s assistant on the advanced class of the Greek language courses. Her dedication and inclination in learning languages helped her speak very good Greek in less than 2 years. Now, her dream for the future is to go to the university and become a lawyer who defends the rights of women, refugees and immigrants.

I was forced to leave my country and I didn’t have the chance to finish school. I came to Greece when I was 17 years old and 6 months pregnant. At first, I was in Mytilene and then I came in Athens. I adapted easily. Greece is a lot alike with my country before the war, when life was calm and peaceful. What I enjoy most around here, which is also the most important for me, is that I am free as a woman to go to school, to the university, to dress the way I want to. Women here can live their lives with no restrictions, in contrast to Afghanistan that even your partner in life is a choice of your family or the society.

I do not think I’ve lost any job opportunities in Greece because of my gender, age, religion or nationality. The Greeks have treated me well, but just like everywhere, there are all kinds of people, good and bad. The truth is that I’m not looking constantly for a job, first I want to excel the Greek language, the English one as well as computers, and then study in the University. For sure I know that it is difficult to find a job in Greece, since the offer is low and the demand is great. I’ve seen it from my husband who, even though he is now working as an interpreter, he had a hard time searching for a job.

Knowing the Greek language is the first thing someone needs in order to find a job in Greece, I think. If you want to find a job in a country, you must speak the language. At first, learning Greek was very difficult. Before starting lessons, I could not speak by myself, go to public services, do simple daily tasks, like shopping. It was almost impossible when my child was a baby and all day at home. The nights though, when my daughter was asleep, I was studying until 2 in the morning. After she grew up and went to nursery, I was able to dedicate myself to my lessons. I started classes 4 months after the birth of my daughter, in 3 different organizations. It was my daily routine, my job for those months and it still is.  I’m glad I can spend time on something I like.

About volunteering, it makes me happy to see people learn with my help. I help the Greek language teacher in the advanced classes. We practice together grammar and dictation, theory and exercises. The fact that I teach Greek as a volunteer helps me as well to learn the language better, but at the same time I offer to others who learn through me. This last one is the most important aspect for me.

If I was to give advice to other people, immigrants and refugees that are currently looking for a job in Greece, I would tell them not to rely only on others and try as much as they can by themselves as well. Not to dwell in the camps and shelters. To take their life in their own hands and become active in the country they live in. To learn the language little by little and get to know other people apart from those who have the same ethnic background.

And if they need help in all that, Generation 2.0 RED’s career counselling service helped me by informing me about the variety of choices I had regarding what I could do in Greece. Where I can learn Greek, how and where I could search for a job. After that meeting, I started Greek language courses at Generation 2.0 and the University of Athens.

TIP: All the goals we set require of course some steps until they are achieved. Continuing your studies in the Greek educational system like Fawzia, which has a dream to finish high school and go to university, requires the same process. Gradual learning of the language and enrollment in a general, technical, intercultural or evening school are the steps to gain access to the next level of education from the one completed in the home country, whether a minor or an adult. If you wish to continue and you need information about the way, do not hesitate to contact the department of career counseling at [email protected].