Till We Have Faces is comprised of around 15 Afghan teenage girls currently living in Athens, Greece. Four afternoons a week, they gather after school to hang out, make art, and discuss topics as varied as culture, health, and storytelling. Allison Oosterhuis, a community art specialist for Veemata Mazi (Taking Steps Together), leads these activities and fosters the safe space where community building can happen between these displaced teens. Employing her degree in intercultural leadership and her studies in art at The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts, Allison has worked among refugee communities in Athens since 2017. This video of Yalda’s story was illustrated by Setara, Fati, Nana, Tayebe, Mahdieh, Roya, and Bahar, with Allison’s assistance.
Setara, a 17-year-old from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, remembers falling asleep at her grandmother’s house as a girl. Grandma Gul, or Grandma Flower, would sit beside her with a cup of chai and rock-sugar candies and tell her stories. One of these was the story of Yalda, a traditional Afghan tale about a village girl who meets a feared “witch” on the longest night of the year.