Khaled Hosseini tells Nalene’s Story


Photo by UNHCR/B. Sokol/2014.

Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini meets Nalene and is struck by her tremendous reserves of confidence and self-awareness.

Nalene, 21, is mother of three small girls, including 18-month-old twins; her husband was injured in a mortar attack on their home and is unable to work. In Syria she ran a successful beauty salon. Here at Kawergosk, she has set up a salon in a small tent in the camp. It’s a challenging environment but she takes pride in the quality of her work and her professionalism. It gives her purpose, direction and a sense of dignity.

“I put plastic on the floor when I do a hair dye in case drops stain the carpet,” she says, smiling. “People might say why bother, we’re in a refugee camp. But it matters. I work hard to support my family but it’s good for my mental well-being too.”

Text by K. Hosseini for The Independent on Sunday/6th April 2014.


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