Our Story‎ > ‎

Reading "book": a step toward literacy

This is the story of a woman. Out of respect for her privacy, we will not disclose her name, but call her our heroine, because that is what she is.

She's forty, but the hardships of living in war torn Afghanistan and fleeing overland to Turkey, then crossing the Aegean sea in a tiny rubber dinghy have aged her beyond her years. 

It is a difficult and dangerous journey, made more so for our heroine because she traveled with her niece, a nine-year-old with an as yet undiagnosed neuro-muscular disorder that has her confined to a wheelchair. 

Our heroine now lives with her family in a refugee camp in Athens, Greece. Between asylum appointments and doctor's appointments she tries to make the best out of her family's life in limbo.

Among her regular activities in the camp, our heroine studies English and participates in the women's self-expression group that Room for Freedom was founded on.

She speaks Dari, but she can't read it. She struggles with English. From one moment to the next, she couldn't remember a simple English sentence to repeat it. Teaching her was hard. But one day, shown a flashcard, our heroine sounded out the word "book". 

It was like the sun burst out--pure joy. 

She still has a long journey ahead of her, but each step brings her closer to her goals of safety and security; self-reliance and self-fulfillment. Room for Freedom is there to lend a hand. You can help. 

Support Room for Freedom to help our heroine and other refugee women learn the skills they need to overcome their situational handicaps and stand on their own.