June 16, 2021 ・ Still I Rise

MORE THAN A REFUGEE. People before labels

For World Refugee Day, Still I Rise has organised an online meeting with three former students of Mazì, the educational center we opened near the hotspot in Samos, Greece. On Sunday, June 20th, starting at 6 p.m., we will have the opportunity to hear their stories and what direction their lives have taken after saying goodbye to us, to find out what their days are like now and what goals they are currently pursuing. As is always the case with class reunions, there is the opportunity to remember days gone by. At this reunion, we will have the opportunity to remember the experiences of life in Samos, the time spent at school, but also life in the refugee camp.

They will have the space to present themselves as they truly are: young people who are doing their best to find their place in the world. And for Still I Rise it will be an occasion to reaffirm the necessity of a new and more comprehensive narrative about migrants, moving away from the simple stereotypes that portray them as helpless and desperate people or as threatening aggressors.


Meet the students


Donaldoni, a Cameroonian boy with a passion for soccer, who arrived at Mazì at the age of 16 as an unaccompanied minor. We have always been amazed by his determination: he was the first to show up at the gates of the educational center to attend class every day. Today he speaks English, French, German and Greek, and the dedication that he put into his studies is evident during football practice as well! In fact, Donaldoni was able to realise his dream and has become a professional player in Thessaloniki, Greece.


Samaneh is of Iranian descent and was born in Afghanistan, and now lives near Berlin, Germany, where she is attending high school and plans to go to university to become a dental assistant. Learning German was only the latest of the challenges she has had to face, and she particularly appreciates the feeling of freedom of her life in Germany. When we met her at Mazì we were fascinated by her ability to observe the world from behind the camera lens. Some of the most beautiful shots in the Through Our Eyes exhibition were taken by her.



Majd, born in Syria, arrived at Mazì at a very young age as an unaccompanied minor. He currently lives in Ireland with an American family and attends high school. He aims to become a healthcare assistant so that he can give back to others some of the help that he has received. Now that he has grown up we can hardly recognize him, but under the thick beard that he has let grow, he still has the very same smile he had when he was our student. 



Giulia Cicoli, Advocacy Director at Still I Rise, will be leading the conversation with the students. Before working in her current position, she was a teacher at Mazì while these students attended our educational center. 


How to attend the meeting

Even if you missed the live broadcast, you still can follow the recording of the event.


< back to news