June 25, 2021

Creativity travels the World!

Looking back at these years, I find it kind of ironic, that my mum’s creative and hard work was able to travel the world, while we were stuck in Switzerland and not allowed to leave the country because of our refugee status. My mum’s designs were presented in the biggest concert halls in Europe and Asia, while we felt trapped in a gilded cage.

In our “nasSima design 20 Jubilee online magazine”, you see all the pictures from these colorful stage costumes that my mum made for the Swiss Best Selling Artist DJ. Bobo and his entire dance crew. The costumes were made for two world tours. 

I remember how proud I was to see my mum's beautiful designs and hard work traveling the world and how I wished I was one of the costumes. :-) Creative work was all we had to survive the most difficult, lonely, and isolated time in our life. Thank God time goes by and we have survived these unbelievably challenging years! 


June 24, 2021

Creativity brings people together!

During difficult times, music is definitely one of the best medicines for the soul. In one of my most hopeless and saddest times when I felt completely stocked and screwed by destiny, my only joy was my love for music and art. Writing about this time now feels like I’m not even writing about myself. The memory of this difficult time is more like a shadow of me.

In a time when my mum and I didn’t know how to pay our rent and were trying to survive, I met the band Backstreet Boys several times when they were only at the beginning of their careers. Today, they are worldwide known, fully respected, and admired musicians. But at the time we met the boys, nobody knew they would become globally successful. I often watched them during rehearsals and once, I was even on stage with all of them during their performance of the hit single “I’ll never break your heart” in front of thousands of screaming teenage fans. 

But I do remember that it wasn’t an easy life, being always on the road. It was hard work. To the outside, it seemed like an enviable life, but at least, the boys had a goal in mind, and they were lucky enough to have fewer obstacles in their way than I had. I had a lot of talents and ambitions and I wanted to have a great career, no matter how hard I had to work. But I couldn’t because of my status as a refugee. It made me angry and depressed. I saw other young people follow their dreams and make money and a life with it, while I was financially ruined and had no prospect for any improvement.

No one took any notice of me and gave me a chance. It took me quite a while to accept that I did not have the same opportunities or rights as young and free Americans and Europeans have. I was worthless as a war-refugee from a third country and trapped in a gilded cage, in oh so wonderful Switzerland. 

Another thing I envied the Backstreet Boys for was the fact that they had been supported and encouraged from a young age. No matter how talented a young American is and where his interests lie, be it sports, politics, science, medicine, media, etc., they always have the opportunity to follow their dreams. They can prepare for any future in college/University and develop freely to become what they want to be. To them, all doors are open.

Every person has different, individual talents and strengths. The Swiss and European education system, however, does not care about the individual person and his or her talents, wishes, and goals. Instead of furthering the talents of a person, the youth here are constantly confronted with their weaknesses. It was exactly what my Swiss teacher in my secondary class did to me for three years. He basically hated foreigners, so he did everything in his power to make my life a living hell. He made me feel useless, worthless, and stupid even though I had many talents in so many areas. Apart from the fact that our refugee permit stopped us from doing just about anything, the chances of becoming something as a refugee in Switzerland were ZERO. Which ironically still hasn’t changed after all these years. The refugee law is still the same in 2021 everywhere!

Today I feel fortunate for the experience and great opportunity that I had to meet THE BOYS, one of the most successful boy bands ever. Their music was and still is a joy for my soul! Thank you for your great and timeless songs such as “Quit playing games with my heart“, “I want it that way”, “Show me the meaning of being lonely” and “Shape of my heart”. Thank you for the “only good” and joyful memories in one of the hardest times in my life where I had to deal with my beloved grandmother's lost and was forced to get married to a Swiss man I didn’t love. May each one of you, Kevin, Brian, Howie, Nick, and AJ, and your families always be blessed.

As a Thank-you I gave the boys a drawing (Original size: 70 x 100 cm) which according to Howie D is in their office in Orlando USA. The drawing contains each of their names, birth signs, and birthdates. And that’s why I say creativity brings people together! 

Kevin & my mum Sima

Kevin & I 

Brian & I 

AJ & I

Howie & I

My drawing for the Backstreet Boys 1996

June 21, 2021


After one year of postponing my petition in 2020 (because of Covid19!) for more rights for refugees regarding education and integration, I now had to make a decision for myself. And I came to the conclusion that this pandemic won’t disappear. Whether we like it or not, it has changed and affected a lot in the world.  So I have decided to move on to Plan B.

I will be collaborating and supporting serious charities, organizations, volunteers and refugee events who are already investing all their time, skills and energy into supporting refugees in regard to education, integration, health and legal matters. I will be supporting people who show the same empathy and respect like I do for every human being regardless of age, nationality, skin color, race, gender, level of education, and life story.

With my skills, know-how, and experience in PR and Marketing, my artwork, my books, and my baking skills, I will be able to support charities in many different ways. 

If you want to collaborate with Lily4Refugees, please send me an email. I only respond to serious messages from established charities and organizations. You can contact me in English and German. I look forward to hearing about your work for refugees.

Watch my interview from September 2017 about Refugees. It's like it was recorded yesterday. Nothing has changed. Unbelievable but the world is still dealing with a refugee crisis! 


June 20, 2021

World Refugee Day 2021!

Together we heal, learn and shine! 

This is UNHCRs theme this year on World Refugee day 2021!

What is World Refugee Day?

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

Why is World Refugee Day important?

World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs, and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees can not only survive but also thrive. While it is important to protect and improve the lives of refugees every single day, international days like World Refugee Day help to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution. Many activities held on World Refugee Day create opportunities to support refugees.

When is World Refugee Day? When did World Refugee Day start?

World Refugee Day falls each year on June 20 and is dedicated to refugees around the globe. World Refugee Day was held globally for the first time on June 20, 2001, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. It was originally known as Africa Refugee Day, before the United Nations General Assembly officially designated it as an international day in December 2000.

What happens on World Refugee Day?

Each year, World Refugee Day is marked by a variety of events in many countries around the globe in support of refugees. These activities are led by or involve refugees themselves, government officials, host communities, companies, celebrities, school children, and the general public, among others. 

If you like to help refugees, please visit this link! You can make a donation or help fund a scholarship right here!


Watch my interview from September 2017 about Refugees. It's like it was recorded yesterday. Nothing has changed. Unbelievable but the world is still dealing with a refugee crisis! 


June 19, 2021

Creativity survives!


From a young age, we are inspired, influenced, and educated by a handful number of important people around us. The most important ones are obviously our parents, siblings, and grandparents. Everything we know, everything we are, and everything we become is a reflection of our family, our loved ones.

In the following years in Kindergarten and at school we are shaped and educated by our teachers. In my school years in my country, I enjoyed strong educational and stress-free years. And when we came to Switzerland my very first teacher was as lovely as my teachers back home. Missis Heidelberg and her co-worker Miss Neugebauer were both very sweet and caring women, who loved their jobs and enjoyed educating foreign children the German language.

Me, Missis Heidelberg and Miss Neugebauer, Bahar (my friend)

After my preparation and integration year, I was then sent to a normal public school in Zurich for Swiss and foreign children. And for the very first time in my life, I had a male teacher. 

My Swiss teacher, Mister Fritschi was a well-educated and friendly family man. He loved nature and enjoyed choir singing. He took us weekly to the woods and made us search for things and we also spend lots of time gardening our own vegetables. He was in his late forties when I joined his class for only two years and the only person who realized how miserable I was doing while my stepfather was terrorizing us at home. Sadly Mister Fritschi passed away only shortly after from nasal cancer.

My teacher Mister Fritschi and my entire class 

The other day, I found a hand-made charcoal drawing by him, that he gave me back in 1988 with a note. It is a quote by the German novelist and poet Theodor Fontane. He published the first of his novels, for which he is best known today, only at age 58 after a career as a journalist.

Looking at my teacher's drawing and handwriting, who is now gone for over three decades gives me Goosebumps. It shows the power of writing and drawing. When we create something, it lasts longer than we do. We leave earth, but our creative work, whether it's writing or drawing will last and touch people’s heart and soul. That's why it is so important to stay creative and productive regardless of whats happening in the world. The crazier the reality becomes, the more creativity we have to spread. 

RIP Mister Fritschi. RIP Theodor Fontane.


Whoever wants to create has to be happy

You will never make it to proficiency

By your miserable daydreams

Tears let nothing succeed:

Whoever wants to create has to be happy.

The rain may well awaken germs,

that undermines the clod,

but golden grain and harvest blessings

only ripen in sunlight.

Theodor Fontane


Wer schaffen will muss fröhlich sein (Original German)

Du wirst es nie zu Tücht'gem bringen

Bei deines Grames Träumereien,

die Tränen lassen nichts gelingen:

Wer schaffen will muss fröhlich sein.

Wohl Keime wecken mag der Regen,

der in die Scholle niederbricht,

doch golden Korn und Erntesegen

reift nur heran bei Sonnenlicht.

Theodor Fontane

June 18, 2021

Do you remember The DJ Kat Show?


As I mentioned in my previous post, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to continue my oil painting classes when we left my war-torn country. Nevertheless, I always stayed creative and productive.

One of my very first creative achievements in Switzerland was when my work was shown on The DJ Kat Show in 1988. I was over the moon. My mum and I had sewed and tinkered together a “DJ Kat Face” that you could hang on the door. Imagine our surprise when the host of the show Linda de Mol mentioned my name and showed our artwork on Live TV. A few days later we also received post and a gift from DJ Kat. It was his first Record disk and it wasn’t my last post from DJ Kat. I continued to send him drawings and won another Record disk. It was the lovely song “You never stopped me from loving you” by Sonia. Check out the official videos further down!

And as you see, I still have and cherish it all to this date. :-) Let's face it, keeping and cherishing our childhood memories alive, is what makes us who we are as adults. 

Today as a children’s books writer, storyteller, and Illustrator, I’m fully aware of the impact that stories and characters have on children’s minds. I also think parents MUST encourage their children to always find a way of creative activity. 

As much as Sport and dancing are important for the body, creative activities such as drawing, painting, crafting, sewing, photography, baking, cooking, singing, etc. are extremely important for the soul. The older we get, the more we realize the importance of creativity, because it brings us joy and happiness in the most difficult and challenging times in life! 

Check out my book recommendation about creativity "Lifelong Kindergarten" by author Mitchel Resnick. In kindergartens these days, children spend more time with math worksheets and phonics flashcards than building blocks and finger paint. Kindergarten is becoming more like the rest of school. In Lifelong Kindergarten, learning expert Mitchel Resnick argues for exactly the opposite: the rest of school (even the rest of life) should be more like kindergarten. To thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively―and the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens.

The DJ Kat show was a children's television program presented by the puppet DJ Kat and his friend Linda de Mol, the sister of Endemol founder John de Mol, which ran from 1986 to 1995. The next friend and host of the show was Steffanie Pitt. The show was first broadcast to Europe on satellite and cable channel Sky Channel and later on Sky One and Sky Europe. The show was aired every weekday morning and afternoon (and in later years, at weekends), and throughout its life was home to a particularly large number of imported animated series. A separate version of The DJ Kat Show was later created for the United States where it was aired on stations affiliated with the Fox Broadcasting Company.

DJ Kat was a puppet with a black leather jacket who loved spinning his records. He also liked to eat junk from the trash cans. His favorite dish was a jar of peas and carrots mashed together and his favorite drink was milk in a dirty glass. In the intro of the show DJ Kat would say the following line: "This is the DJ Kat show and I am DJ Kat...that's my name. It's a D and a J and a Kat with a K." The reason it is spelled with a K is because the Dutch spell cat with a k and Linda de Mol is Dutch. DJ Kat was originally performed by puppeteer Robert 'Robbie' Hahn.

June 17, 2021

Creativity: My way of Self-Therapy!


When I finished secondary school back in the late 90es and wasn’t allowed to continue my education thanks to my refugee status in Switzerland, the only thing that kept me surviving the following years was my love for art. Drawing and painting helped me through difficult times, especially between 1995 and 1998.

When you do research about “Art and Therapy” these days, you find all kinds of Art therapy programs. It helps children and adults to explore their emotions, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, relieve stress, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, and cope with a physical illness or disability.

Back in my days, there was no internet, so I didn’t have the possibilities and access to today’s world of art and the world of therapy. The only way to heal was self-therapy. As I know today Art-making is a common activity used by many people to cope with illness. Art and the creative process can alleviate many illnesses (cancer, heart disease, influenza, etc.). This form of therapy helps benefit those who suffer from mental illnesses as well (chronic depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, etc.).

Often people (especially teenagers) cannot express the way they feel, as it can be difficult to put it into words, and art can help people express their experiences. During art therapy, people can explore past, present , and future experiences using art as a form of coping. Art can be a refuge for the intense emotions associated with illness; there are no limits to the imagination in finding creative ways to express emotions. And that’s what I did with these two powerful drawings back in 1996 when I felt helpless and worthless. I was young, active, ambitious, and full of creative ideas, but wasn’t allowed to do anything besides drawing.

In my personal opinion and experience stopping young and creative people from growing because of their nationality, race and paper is a crime. It is irresponsible, selfish, and thoughtless because it is an emotional and mental suicide!

As you see in my two drawings (original size: 50x70 cm), I was emotionally and physically so sick, that my only solution and escape was death! I had no energy left to fight against the refugee law that makes it impossible to improve and to find independence and happiness in your new country, where you are tolerated but not accepted and included.

Thank God no law in the world can stop one from self-education and self-improvement. They put a lot of stones in my way, but I kept walking and I kept growing. 

My Memoir is available in English & German.

June 15, 2021

My very first oil painting!

I’m kicking off my summer blog series about “Creativity” with my very first oil painting. I was just nine when I finished my masterpiece in July 1986. I remember the creative weeks before like it was just yesterday. My teacher was an older man in his sixties or maybe even seventies. He had turned his huge living room in his home into an art gallery and was offering private lessons to young and ambitious art students. I was the youngest one. All the others were much older and more experienced than I was.

This oil painting's main lesson that you see above was lighting and shadows. In several spots in the gallery, there were different items decorated with different sizes of canvas to choose from. Several canvas holders and chairs were welcoming the students to dive into another world, into another exciting scenery. That was wonderful.

I remember that the students were all so concentrated that no one said anything. Everyone was focused on her/his own artwork and in her/his own creative world in a lovely atmosphere with lots of lighting in the room. Our teacher played classical music in the background and his entire house was filled with his own masterpieces. We saw colorful landscapes, different flowers in vases, and fruit plates that made one really hungry, especially during the hot summer in Teheran.

The only time when we students talked and commented on each other’s artwork was during the breaks. The teacher’s wife spoiled us with Persian tea or ice-cold and fresh fruity drinks with homemade cookies and sweets usually made with pistachios and saffron.

The day when my mum picked me from art class and saw my work for the very first time was absolutely amazing. When I brought the big canvas (bigger than myself!) to the room, where she was waiting for me, she thought I’m helping another student and caring her work. Imagine her surprise when she realized that this was my very first oil painting. That was a lovely moment and I was proud of the masterpiece that I had worked on for weeks.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to continue my art classes for long, because just a few months later we left my country and came to Europe. As much as I loved to continue my art journey, we sadly couldn’t afford professional art classes in Switzerland. They cost a fortune. Nevertheless, I always stayed creative and did a lot of drawings and paintings at home in self-education. It became my way of self-therapy to this date. 

Who would have thought that one day my very first oil painting along with two other artworks of mine from decades ago, would help raise money for the refugees. Visit www.artforefugees.com and help this wonderful art shop raise money for two established charities in the United Kingdom. Thank you. 

June 12, 2021

Design your own joy!


One of the most important lessons in life is to be able to design JOY for yourself. Don’t wait until others bring you joy, happiness, and laughter in life. Trust me, you will be waiting for a looooong time and in the end, you will only be disappointed!

Joy is inside you. Happiness is in you. Also, finding joy in the little things in life is the key to a fulfilled and happy life. Another satisfying way is to set little goals for yourself. Create daily or weekly TO DO LISTS and you will be surprised how fulfilling it is to check the boxes at the end of a day or an entire week. Be realistic with your to-do lists, though. From my own experience in the past, I know that it is important to set realistic goals, otherwise, you may get depressed and that’s the last thing you need.

Create small and exciting highlights for yourself that excite you and make you look forward to something. For example, if you have seen something on the internet, order it and spoil yourself with the product. May it be a clothing item, accessories that make you smile like my adorable dogs or my golden prince, a music CD, or an exciting and inspiring new book. Waiting for a mailbox to arrive is something to look forward to, especially in these times when nothing joyful is happening in the world.

Although we should learn to appreciate every single day, regardless of all the madness in the world, in our private and professional life. For example, waking up in the morning to the sound of little birds is the most beautiful sound in the world.

So last week we went to a pet shop and got a beautiful little bird feeder for our balcony. A simple act of selfless kindness that not only is helping the birds but brings us so much joy. We named it “The nasSima design Hotel”. We can’t wait to welcome our first guests and spoil them with delicious bird food and water.

So this is just a little example of designing joy for yourself and for others!