PRAKSIS, a Greek emergency organisation, offers refugees medical, social and legal assistence. At the end of October, we implemented a mobile school with them in the city of Patras.
In addition to doing weekly interventions in one of the isolated Roma communities in Patras, they will use the mobile school in an old hotel, that currently accomodates 179 Syrian refugees. They wait there until they can continue their journey to their final destination. More than half of them are minors, who do not have access to education while waiting. “We use the mobile school to organise educational activiteit in this hotel and at other places that are not childfriendly”, says Georgia Tzanakou, the local coordinator of PRAKSIS. “The children get the chance to feel good and to trust each other.”
Another location is a dilapidated wood factory, nearby the port of Patras. Many refugees try to reach Italy through the harbour of Patras. To do so, they have to hide in or under trucks. The controls are strict, the risks huge and the chances of success very slim. Still, every day people undertake this dangerous journey. PRAKSIS will use the mobile school here as well. “With the mobile school we approach unaccompanied minors. They often live in difficult circumstances, but we want to support them as much as possible”, says Maria Ntini, volunteer coordinator at PRAKSIS.
The people we meet at the different locations already undertook an arduous journey, but they receive us with open arms. “Thanks for making to time to be here with us with this amazing tool, to listen to our stories and to approach us as people”, says Ali at the mobile school.
We listen to dreams of a better life, of family reunification, of lost loves and we hear stories about war and sadness. In the meantime, however, we witness friendship, solidarity and a lot of resilience, an essential street skill in emergencies. Despite all the setbacks they have had, these refugees don’t give up. They keep looking for opportunities, in the hope of a better future.