‘The Poetry Project’: How young refugees in Germany are bridging the cultural gap with their voices

Author: Anna Fleck

This article is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here 

Sitting at a family meal one night in 2015, 15-year-old Shahzamir Hataki had no idea that the next day a car would come to take him away. The fare had already been paid, and soon he would set halfway around the world, leaving his home in Mazar e Sharif in northern Afghanistan to head towards Germany. He didn’t want to leave his friends and family, but he didn’t have a choice.

As Shahzamir journeyed towards Greece on a boat filled with women and children, it capsized, with small children and babies drowning all around him. Of the 65, only 20 survived.

My mother said, »Why didn’t you call?
I haven’t eaten in three days out of worry!«
I told her that I arrived safely,
But simply hadn’t had the money to call.

How could I tell her
that for 10 days, I could only drink hot chocolate,
because my body was so full of salt water?

Extract from ‘The Only Son’, Shahzamir Hataki

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