My Name is Basira


“I paint to express what I feel deep inside, the passion for living in freedom, the love of nature and the art of being human. To me, what race and gender you have doesn’t matter, or the boundaries that religion and tradition require. I reach out beyond borders and nations to make friends and show that I care for others. Painting makes me feel more alive. It is through painting that I express the things I can’t say with words. 

My name is Basira and I live with my family in Denmark. I came to Denmark from Afghanistan as an unaccompanied minor together with my older brother and sister in 2015. After eleven months we got asylum and my remaining family joined us in 2017.

We were lucky we didn’t have to wait long. Bringing the remaining members of my family was also easy, although I cried a lot in the two years of their absence. But when I see other refugee and immigrant children in Denmark I almost cry, because it feels unfair that they are still waiting to get asylum, especially the ones who came the same year as we did. I live a free life, I can travel wherever I want whenever I wish to, but they can’t. They don’t have the same opportunities that I have – they can’t decide their future for themselves as I do.

I am Pashtun from my father’s side and Tajik from my mother’s side, but we speak Farsi/Dari at home. I am born in a Muslim family, but I don’t wear hijab. To my family, the hijab is in the purity of our hearts and the sincerity of our deeds.  I believe that God exists in each and every one of us. And that what we think of others and how we treat the ones in need, determines who we are.

I am the only female in the family who dare to step out into the world and follow my passion of becoming a good football player and a fine artist. I am not afraid of doing what feels right. But I am not alone; I have my family who supports me in almost every step of the way, especially my parents. My future ambition is to study engineering at the university and take advanced courses in drawing and painting to improve my artistic skills.”

As told to Faiaz Dowlatzai.

This is a series of stories of what has happened to some of those who were in the center of the events in 2015. Just like Basira there are hundreds of thousands of young females who wish to live their dreams and work for a brighter future around the globe. But unfortunately not many of them get the opportunities and family support that Basira has. Thousands of young girls in Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Greece and other European countries, are still waiting to get their asylum so they can start living like other – normal – citizens. Many of them came in 2015 and after five years they are still living in uncertainty. You can only guess the hopelessness and humiliation they feel everyday when they are reminded that they don’t belong in a so-called “civilized society” – Europe.  

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