(Athens, Greece) — Media reports of the refugee crisis have drawn thousands of volunteers from around the world. They come because they don’t want to simply sit back and watch tragedy unfold without doing something to help. A case in point is a group of of young people who came from Portugal hearing word about refugees who had moved into Athens’ defunct school building #5 as a place of temporary refuge. Here are their stories:
Organized football (soccer) at Greece’s refugee camps is now being offered as a means of escape from boredom and depression for residents who wait months or years for word on a future home.
At the Ritsona refugee camp on Greece’s mainland, the ‘Cafe Rits’ football team sponsored by the Cafe Rits NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) has turned semi-pro, with the refugee team sparing against other Greek teams. Those watching the effort say it has not only created a sense of community in the camp, but given the young players a sense of purpose.
(Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece)— Eighteen year old Malak Othman sits in a Greek refugee camp these days reflecting on her life five years ago. When she was 13, she fled her home in Syria. She joined thousands of others in a dangerous journey across the Aegean Sea, all in hopes of a better life, of a new home where should live independently and safely.
(Kera Tepe Refugee Camp, Lesvos, Greece.) — Individuals from all parts of the world are building bridges and creating avenues of expression within Greek refugee camps with the arts.
Refugees waiting in Greek refugee camps are given food, shelter, and toiletries- the necessities. The next step in creating more humane conditions is creating avenues for expression and ways to pass the time for residents.
(Scaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece) — Barbers Alcocknde has been a resident at the Scaramagas Refugee Camp in Athens, Greece for more than a year. The Saudi Arabia native ended up on the run with his Afghanistani wife after the Taliban attacked her. Her wounds were so severe she almost died, needing four surgeries to survive. They fled in the dark of night, and on a journey that took them on a flimsy boat from Turkey to Greece’s borders because it meant a chance of safety for them.
(AGIA PARASKEVI, GREECE) — It was his last trip abroad – November 15, 2016 – just two months before he would turn over the reins of power to the next president seen by many as anti-immigrant. As President Obama stood before a packed crowd at Athens’ Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, he commended Greece, saying “nowhere have we seen compassion (for refugees) more evident than here in Greece.”