Testimonials: Students

Nargis (Afghanistan) – Student since August 2017

I am Nargis. I am 19 years old. I am from Afghanistan and I am living in Athens, Greece. It was two years ago when I met my future teacher in my shelter. That time I was living in Attiki. One day I was studying with my computer teacher in the corridor. It was in the afternoon when I saw that two girls came in my shelter. “Who are they?” I asked my social worker. “They are volunteers. They are teaching English,” she told me. Then my future teacher came and said hello to me. We met each other and she explained to me about her work in Greece and invited me to attend her classes. When I heard that, I was excited. I went to tell my social worker that I wanted to join Habibi Center, but she ignored me. “We don’t allow you because that area is dangerous for girls,” she said. But I didn’t give up and one day I called my future teacher and I said to her, “I want to be your student”. I was worried if she didn’t accept me, but when I called her and I asked, “can I attend your class?” she said, “Of course you can”. I felt a positive energy. When she invited me to see the school it was unbelievable because she came and picked me up from the metro station. I was surprised because I had never seen something like that in my whole life, even in my country. Her behaviour was so good and friendly. The first week that I came to Habibi Center I hid it from my shelter. After that, I explained to my shelter that there was a good teacher in that centre and she taught me very well. Finally, my shelter allowed me to go there.

It was very difficult for me to come to Habibi Center because I had Greek school and English class and I didn’t have time to eat lunch because I was finishing my Greek school at 2:30pm and I arrived to Habibi Center at 3:20pm. I loved the way my teacher taught me. I was very interested in Habibi Center. She also encouraged me to keep studying. It was like my sister was talking to me. I went to many courses in Athens, but I didn’t find out anything like Habibi Center. The other schools taught me the same lessons every day. For example, if one new student came to class, the teachers taught us the same things. Also, when teachers changed for a new one, we repeated again and again. I was bored with those lessons, so in Habibi Center I found my future. I have been there since 2017. Habibi Center has helped me to get three Cambridge certificates. Speaking, reading and writing in English and everything else that I have achieved are because of the hard work of my teachers.

Then, I changed my teacher for some months and I met other of my best teachers. I was fasting so I didn’t eat during the day. Also, I had Greek school, but I didn’t stop coming to Habibi Center because that new teacher taught us very well. I was working hard, but I missed her classes because I was looking for a job. My teachers encouraged me to be an independent person. They helped me and they taught me how to speak to get the job and how to write the CV. So I got the job and I was very happy. But I was stressed and very worried about my English classes. I said to myself, “if I leave Athens and I come back, will she accept me to continue my studies in Habibi Center or not?” So I asked my teacher and she told me that there was no problem. I was very excited that I heard this from her.

I don’t have my family with me. That time I wanted to start my job, but I didn’t have even one euro to live one month on my own until I took my first salary. My teachers helped me and they lent me money. From that time until now I don’t think the Habibi Center is only a school for me. It is also my family. I have learned how to help each other, how to be friendly and how to respect each other. When I am going there I feel I am in my home with my family. The behaviour of my teachers is very nice and friendly. I have never forgotten the day when I had exams in my Greek school. I came back from my work in Santorini and my flight was at 12 o’clock in the midnight and it was delayed for one hour. It was very late in the night and my teachers came to pick me up to the station. It was again surprising for me and I cried. When they hug me I felt I was not alone anymore. I have some family in Habibi Center.

After a few months, I finished with my job and I came back to Athens. I started again my studies in Habibi Center. This time I changed again my teacher. He is other of my best teachers. I changed my time to go there in the evenings and it was late and dark to go back home. Sometimes, my teachers came with me to the metro station and sometimes until my shelter.

I think that I didn’t pass the B1 exam because when I went for work I had spoken in Greek and I stopped my English studies. But I didn’t give up and I kept trying and trying. I attended all classes and I studied hard. Also, it was thanks to the hard work of my teachers that I passed the B1 exam.

I am very happy that I have them with me. I really love them. They are the best teachers in my whole life.