In cooperation with the online children’s newspaper Časoris and journalist Sonja Merljak Zdovc, we will start publishing Stories of Children from around the World, one story a month.

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Afghan music, Slovenian films

Erfan is a fifteen-year-old Afghan boy. He came to Slovenia from Iran. He came to Slovenia from Iran.

He set out on the long journey together with his cousin. They first travelled to Turkey, and from there on to Greece. They continued through Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia, finally arriving in Slovenia.

Their family had to pay a lot of money for their trip to Europe. He now talks to his parents and younger brothers over the phone. They tell him not to worry about them, that they are okay.


He is fine, too. He goes to school in Slovenia and dreams of becoming a doctor. Or maybe a tailor.

In Slovenia, he spent the first eight months in Koper. “It’s a very nice place,” she says smiling. “It’s by the sea.”

His family had to leave Afghanistan when he was one year old. “We are Khazars and other people don’t like us. They don’t want us living in Afghanistan,” he explains.

Even though the Khazars are Persians, like other Iranians, Iranians do not like those who came to their country from Afghanistan. “I don’t know why. A big boy attacked me with a knife once. This is when I decided that I don’t want to live in Iran anymore.”

Iranians refuse to issue Khazars personal documents. Those without documents cannot go to school.

In Postojna, Erfan listens to Afghan music, but reads Slovenian books and watches Slovenian films. “I need to learn the language,” he says.

He speaks a language called Dari. In Afghanistan, people also speak Pashto, but he does not speak it.

But he does know how to make Afghan food. The most typical dish is bolani. “First you make the dough, like for a pizza, then put potatoes and parsley on it, fold it together like a sandwich and fry it in sunflower oil. When it’s done, you eat it with yoghurt and ketchup.”

Erfan is great at playing chess and drawing, and he also sews well. He learned this in Iran. He does not like football because he once broke his finger playing as a goalkeeper. In Slovenia, he learned how to play basketball, and he also does karate.

“I have friends here at school. They are all kind. If I don’t understand something, they explain it to me.”

He also went to school in Iran, but it was not like in Slovenia. Afghan children without documents could only go to school for three years and they were taught by anyone who knew something well. “Here, my favourite subject is mathematics. I did not learn it in Iran, and here I’m doing very well. I like physics too. History is very difficult for me, because I still have to learn a lot of words.”

Next year he will repeat ninth grade to further improve his Slovenian, and after that he may go to grammar school.

“I would like to stay in Slovenia because I feel good here and I can go to school.”


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