It’s been 7 months since Abeer and her family have relocated to Germany. A few hours before departing for a new beginning, we had a brief chat where she described her journey so far and her prospects about the future. A smart young woman, biology graduate, mother and wife, Abeer had already started working as a translator for Time magazine while living in Greece and searched for ways to continue with her education. It seemed like nothing could get in the way of her search for a better future.
Seven months later, Abeer visited the IOM Greece office again, this time not as a beneficiary but as a professional, working with a Time magazine crew. So, Abeer, what happened during these 7 months in Germany?
“Germany is so different than what we expected. We spent the first six months in an accommodation centre but now we live in a flat, in a village close to Poland. My daughter will go to school at the end of summer and I’m really happy about that. My husband, who was diagnosed with a serious heart condition when we were still living in Greece, will finally have his operation in a few days, as soon as I get back to Germany. In the meantime, he’s back to school, learning the language. As for me, I got a scholarship for a master’s degree from the University of Athens. It’s an online course in English about refugee education and I’m about to complete it. And, there’s Time magazine, I came back to Greece to work with them. They called me and said “come to Athens to work with us” and as I had already my German passport I agreed gladly.
I was expecting that Germany would be perfect, but life can be difficult there, too. Everything is different than in Greece. After spending a year in Greece, it sometimes feels difficult having to adjust to yet another country and reality. At first, I felt really depressed. However, I have made a new start there and no, it’s not easy. The language is difficult, I’ll start classes after I finish with my master’s. I hope that this degree will help me find a good job in Germany, the truth is that I’d like to start working as soon as possible and learn the language at the same time, I wouldn’t like to wait for much longer. I speak English so I think I could start working immediately. The girls at Time magazine encourage me to get to into journalism, they say I’d be good at it.
When I came back to Greece this time, it smelled a little bit like Syria. Greece is like Syria and people here are like Syrians. I’m so happy to be back here, and as I can’t go back home. Here, it feels a little bit like home”.
“Abeer is our everything!” says Francesca Trianni, a video producer for Time magazine who has been working with Abeer for a year now. “We are following Syrian babies and their families for a year as they’re finding their new home in Europe. We met her when we were working in refugee camps in Thessaloniki and we desperately needed a smart translator who could help us make the story happen, we wouldn’t be able to do our job without Abeer helping us to connect with families. She helped us at very tough moments, we filmed women when they were going to labour, we filmed families when they found out about the countries they’d be relocated, very emotional moments. You need incredible people who can help you connect and that’s what Abeer has done for us.
We didn’t hesitate to call her to work with us in Greece even though she had already relocated to Germany, as we needed her. It shows how important it is to have good translators for the work that we do. So, we flew her here for a week to work with us. And I have no doubt she will be able to have a great career in journalism”.
Through the EU Relocation Programme, the International Organization for Migration in Greece (IOM) supports the Government of Greece in relocating with safety and dignity asylum seekers to other EU Member States of Relocation (MSR). The Programme is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (AMIF).