Anna Izountouemoi is a 25-year-old Greek psychologist who was born and raised in Athens by a Ugandan mother and a Nigerian father. She currently lives in the Swedish capital of Stockholm and has begun narrating fairy tales in the Greek language for the children of Greek expatriates who now live in Stockholm.
It all began when the International Library of Stockholm, a part of the city’s Public Library, decided to hold a series of fairytale-narration sessions, with all of the tales recounted in their original languages.
When the library saw how successful the readings were becoming, they decided to expand them to include more languages.
Izountouemoi volunteered to narrate Greek fairy tales, since the Greek stories were not yet included in the library’s offerings.
The first Greek fairy-tale reading took place in late October, with seven children in attendance.
The second session, in November, attracted fourteen children, and the third one in December proved even more popular.
Speaking with the state-run news agency AMNA, the psychologist said, ”people who live a one-hour-drive away from Stockholm come just to listen to the fairytales narrated in Greek. This is very important to me.”
The reading of the Greek tales was noticed by the Greek embassy in Sweden as well as several Greek schools of Stockholm, and now, thanks to their assistance, readings are scheduled for every Sunday in the Swedish capital.
Her narration is always accompanied by different activities such as music and painting, which engage all the senses in the children’s exploration of Greek culture. Izountouemoi explains that, due to the different levels of Greek-language competency among the kids, she tries to adjust each and every session to the needs of her audience.
Apart from her weekly folktale narrations, the psychologist has begun writing her own fairytales for children and, along with a friend of hers, she teaches the Greek language to students at the University of Stockholm.
The Greek native is currently living in Stockholm as she studies for her master’s degree in Emotion Psychology.
When asked about the difficulties she experienced as a child of migrants in Greece, she simply refused to answer. She preferred instead to focus instead on her belief that if one wants to help those in need, one should just do it, no matter what the obstacles might be.
She is one determined and talented young lady, and has chosen a completely unique way to show her love for the country in which she was raised.