As Amsterdam begins to return normal, Road of Hope is pleased to announce that activities are beginning to restart in person. Dutch lessons have resumed alongside Breath of Hope workshops, kicking off with the very successful Masks4AllRefugees event. Individual face to face meetings with refugees who request Road of Hope’s help are also being conducted, yet in open spaces rather than inside of refugees’ homes.
In the next month, more events will continue to happen. Road of Hope is planning for a local Amsterdam doctor to give a lecture to refugees about coronavirus, specifically focusing on its symptoms and how to properly wear a face mask. More details of this event will be coming soon on our social media.
The new cycle of Breath of Hope will also begin on 18th August, hosting reflection groups online and providing a safe place for refugee women to find emotional support.
For all our events, the necessary social distancing and safety measures will continue to be taken in order to ensure the safety of our participants. Road of Hope’s calendar of events will continue to be promoted on our social media. Keep tuned!
On 30th July, Breath of Hope hosted the Masks4AllRefugees event which was a great success. Nine people attended the workshop, mixing together refugees and local Dutch residents who worked together to create fabric face masks. Following the instructor’s directions, the group was split into teams; one for cutting the material, one for aligning the pieces and another for sewing. The event was led by a refugee named Maissum, a volunteer from Syria and a refugee named Berta, who was interviewed for this newsletter last month. Berta acted as a translator, conducting the day in Arabic and Dutch so the participants could practice their language skills. This event allowed refugee women to feel empowered through contributing to their community.
As one participant said after the workshop ‘I was so happy to be a part of making these face masks. The atmosphere was amazing, with lots of laughing and joking as we all worked together. We also spoke Dutch with the local women and the children were also given small tasks, to make them feel like part of the team’.
A 1.5 metre distance was maintained and face masks were worn in order to ensure the safety of everyone attending. Following the positive feedback received, Breath of Hope will host the second and the third edition of #Maskes4AllRefugees workshops on 21st and 22nd August.
Mattiullah is 27 years old and originally from Afghanistan. He has been living in the Netherlands for almost five years. Mattiullah loves to cook, creating a wide variety of dishes. In this interview he will tell us about his struggles, memories and hopes for the future.
Road of Hope – You have faced many struggles as an asylum seeker and then a refugee. Would you feel comfortable telling us about it and how you were able to overcome it?
Mattiullah – Yes, you as a refugee face struggles, it was very difficult for me because at that time I was under a lot of stress, on the one hand the pain of emigration and on the other hand the grief of losing my family. I went to the doctor several times but it was not useful for me, later I met a kind lady named Patricia* and a great man named Felipe**, they were great and they comforted me a lot. I’m thankful to them and they were able to give me positive energy! I want to forget all these problems and I want to start a new life, but I don’t know how and from which way.
Road of Hope – Can you tell us about one of your best moments from living in the Netherlands? Is there any memorable experience that you would like to share with us? Also, what do you most like about Dutch culture?
Mattiullah – From my own experience, the greatest thing I learned in the Netherlands was humanity, because in Afghanistan that is not so! In my country every day there was panic among the majority of my compatriots, and the rights of the oppressed were always violated. But this is different in the Netherlands, because everyone here follows the law and that’s important to me, because in my country it was very different.
Road of Hope – What messages of hope do you have for individuals who, like you, are starting their life in a new country and are feeling fearful or uncertain?
Mattiullah – I have learned different things in the Netherlands. This country is very important to me, I love the Netherlands more than Afghanistan and I wish peace for Afghanistan! I have a lot of pain from my past in Afghanistan. Since I lost my whole family there and this pain doesn’t go away. I want to live like a human being and I found this in the Netherlands. I knew I was human and my rights were different from those of animals but when you live in Afghanistan, you can’t separate these rights, because you can’t know what human rights are there.
Road of Hope – What further changes do you think society needs to make, in order to better accommodate refugees and allow them to play a more active part in their community?
Mattiullah –In my opinion, the Netherlands has the best facilities, and in no country in the world can we expect more without effort.
Road of Hope – What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Mattiullah – I wish I could be happy and have my wife by my side to get away from this loneliness. I got married to get rid of this loneliness because I wanted to forget the grief of losing my family and stress. This is my biggest wish to get my wife here. Also I want to find a full time job, I’m still looking for work to fight with this challenge and bring some changes in my life but unfortunately I did not find anything yet.