The girl that can’t stop laughing

the girl that cant stop laughing
Zein escaped the hell of Aleppo. In the Netherlands, she developed her talents.

Zein escaped the hell of Aleppo. In the Netherlands, she developed her talents. It’s not easy to take a photo of Zein. Not because she’s shy of the camera, but because she just can’t stop laughing.

In 2005, when she was 5 years old, Zein participated in her first musical-theatre-show. When the Syrian war broke out in 2011, she had been practicing piano for a few years. The war was making her life increasingly harder and one day, shots were fired at her school bus. After that, Zein stopped going to school. When the regime bombed the building right next to her house, glass shattered into the room where Zein and her brother were sleeping.

Zein’s father decided to flee Syria. He ended up in the Netherlands. After two years, Zein, her brother and her mother followed. Within a few months of arriving in the Netherlands, Zein continued her piano lessons with the help of piano teacher, Kay Ramati. Stichting De Vrolijkheid, a foundation in the Netherlands that organises creative and artistic activities in refugee centres (AZC’s), offered Zein a 7-month theatre course. Shortly after, she performed in four shows, in Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

In 2016, Zein and her family moved to Leiden – where they now live together in a family home. The move encouraged her to pursue her ambitions even further. After one month of training at the youth centre in Sassenheim, she became the only non-Dutch actor in a theatre adaptation of the famous book “the wave”. The show ran for four months.

Now 16 years old, Zein speaks Dutch at the proficiency level of B2. After she finishes high school, Zein wants to study laboratory studies but she also would like to continue acting in the theatre. For now, Zein can’t stop laughing.

Fotografie: © Alhasan Fatoum

Dit artikel verscheen oorspronkelijk op, een online magazine waar schrijvers en journalisten met een vluchtverleden begeleid werden bij het publiceren van artikelen in het Nederlands.

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