10 questions with: Fatima Rakhami (24)
From: Safe, Morroco
At City Plaza since: Fatima spent 3 weeks at City Plaza in November and is now back for 1 month
- 3 words to describe your experience living at City Plaza:
Love, solidarity, sharing
- How does The City Plaza Library work?
We have quite a few books. I’ve organised the books into different categories, for example children’s books, Philosophy, Fiction. In each section there are books in different languages, so hopefully everyone can find at least one book in each section which they can read.
Anyone at City Plaza can come to the library whenever they want, whatever their age, whichever language(s) they read. It’s always open. The system is based on trust, independence and freedom of choice. People come when they like and write their name, the date and the title of the book they’re borrowing on a sheet on the wall.
- In your opinion, why is reading important for people living at City Plaza?
Reading allows people to escape, to think of other things. Reading can transport you.
Having access to books is especially important for the children at City Plaza. Unfortunately a lot of the children can’t go to school because their situation isn’t stable but it’s so important that they read. ‘A child who reads becomes an adult who thinks’. I love to help people to choose books.
Fatima with Rida and Saba in the library today
- Why do you enjoy to organise The City Plaza Library?
Reading is so important. It encourages people to think. For me reading is not a privilege, it’s a necessity. It’s a pleasure for me to help with a project that will allow more people to have a book in their hands.
- How could a donation to the City Plaza crowdfunding support The City Plaza Library?
There are a lot of Greek books and quite a few English books. But there aren’t many in the languages spoken by refugees living at City Plaza. I think that reading is a really positive way for people here to pass time.
It would also make a huge difference to day to day life here to have access to Arabic and Farsi dictionaries.
- What does City Plaza mean to you?
Home. City Plaza is a home for everyone who lives here.
- How would you describe day to day life at City Plaza?
For me days pass very quickly. There’s always a lot to do and when one project or job finishes, there’s always the next one waiting. When you spend time doing something that you don’t enjoy, time can feel like it passes slowly. Here I love what I’m doing, so naturally time passes quickly.
- Why did you come to City Plaza?
I have always been in solidarity with those who have been forced to leave their countries, their homes. But I haven’t been able to help financially because I’ve been a student. Now I have a break between my studies (Fatima is studying Engineering) so I am able to give my time to help. Being able to speak Arabic means I speak to a lot of the people who live here.
- Why is it important for City Plaza to stay open?
It’s so important that City Plaza exists. Especially in the winter. Outside it’s cold, in the camps it’s cold. If the people weren’t living here in the warmth, with heating, good clothes, enough food, electricity, Wifi, they would be on the streets or in the horrible conditions of the camps.
Here people have keys to their own room. It’s a hotel. It’s safe. It’s a home. City Plaza has to stay open!
- And finally, given that City Plaza relies entirely on donations from around the world, what does solidarity mean to you?
Any of us could be forced to flee our country. It’s important that we all help one another in this world, as humans. I believe solidarity means helping others in need in any way we can. If we can share what we have, money of course helps. But solidarity doesn’t have to mean money. Solidarity with the refugees who live at City Plaza can be shown through just a word or a thought.
City Plaza is not supported by NGOs, it relies entirely on solidarity and donations from around the world.
However small or big your donation, every little will help. Everyone at City Plaza thanks you for your kindness and support in helping us to continue to live and work together in our home, to continue to live here in peace, togetherness and solidarity.
Donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen