Growing up as a refugee in Greece: Ferhard’s story

To celebrate Refugee Week 2021, we are sharing the story of Ferhard, a young refugee with a passion for learning. In 2018 Ferhard and his mother fled to Greece. Here they received support from SOS Children’s Villages with education, health services and money for food.

“My name is Ferhard, which means ‘brave’ in my language, and I am 12 years old. My home country is far away, in Iraq, where I used to live with my family. I do not know if I am actually brave, but I know that I have faced many challenges until now in my life. I lost my father when I was very young, so I was left with my mother. I was only nine when I arrived in Thessaloniki, in Greece, in 2018.”

“We did not know anyone, and everything was so new and scary for us. I felt so lost and alone. Early in 2019, we found out about an Educational Centre at SOS Children’s Villages. Here refugee children like me could get educational support, learn new things, play, and make friends. It was the first time that I joined classes, as I was too young to attend in my country. I was so excited and happy, it was a dream come true!

“When I began visiting the SOS Centre, I only spoke a few words in Greek. My teachers were very polite and helped me from the first day to learn more! I never missed a class and I even asked for classes during the weekend because I could not wait to see my friends again and test my knowledge! I have been going to the Centre for over two years now and cannot count how many friends I have made and how many things I have learned!

“When I think about my education so far, I believe that Greek is an easy language to learn if you love it. I’m not very good at Math, but I love Greek, English, and German and I really like computers and art and crafts projects.

“My teachers have done more than just teach my classes. They supported me when my mother became ill after my grandmother’s death. I was the only one that could take care of her while I was also attending school and my classes at the Centre. But we managed to survive!

My biggest dream is to become a school teacher and help other children learn and believe in themselves! My role models are my educators in the SOS Educational Centre. They were the ones that believed in me, supported me, and helped me dream again!”

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