INTERVIEW WITH SAMMY, 21 YEARS OLD, from Shengal, Syria
Interviewed by Irina
(for the German version as well as some pictures, please klick on
Who is Sammy? He is a Syrian refugee and lives at Camp Petra in Greece. He gives dancing lessons to the kids of the camp. Not only that though. He speaks up for the people in the camp. He helps out whenever and wherever he can. He built a shower for a woman who couldn't leave her tent due to her paralysis for example. Or he built craddles out of wood.
Sammy, please tell us your story.
I've been to Camp Petra for 4 months now. I haven't had a real home for a long time. I grew up in the suburbs of Shengal. The IS was only 15 minutes away from our village. We saw awful scenes on TV. We saw how they killed people. The whole village fled. It was awful. We also packed what little we possesed and left our village. We ended up in Turkey where I got to stay for 2 years. Afterwards I was sent to Idomeni in a refugee camp. Now I am in Camp Petra and I actually feel lucky. Not everybody has been, unfortunately.
Tell us something about your childhood.
I haven't had a nice childhood. My family was very poor and we didn't have any money. I didn't even have clothes of my own. I had to borrow some from my friends. Other kids were laughing at me. From an early age, we struggled to survive.
Now in Camp Petra you teach kids how to dance. For many of them you are a role model. Where did you learn to dance?
I taught myself everything. I never attended a class. There wouldn't have been any money for it. I watched the videos on YouTube and tried to imitate the moves.
Where do you get the energy to get up every day?
I see how dancing gives the kids a sense in their everyday life. They are so young and they already have experienced so much. Dancing ought to give them back something. The kids learn how to externalize bad feelings and it helps them to process emotional and mental pain. When I look at the kids while they dance, I am happy. I want to do everything to allow them a better future. I am always there for them. 24 hours a day.
Which is your wish for the people that live here?
I wish for all these families to be united again and to be able to live in a secure and peaceful place. I wish for a future for these people. This isn't only my wish. It's the wish of everybody here!
And what about your very personal wish?
My personal wishes are unimportant. I wish for the wishes of these kids here to come true. At that moment my biggest wish will have come true as well.
Is there something else you want to add?
I want to thank the organizations like Borderfree. You allow me to do what I do with the kids. We need your help. The wood I got to built the craddle, for example. And all the other stuff that you provided. I am very thankful for all that!