Life in Athens, Greece

I’m in Athens with our partner Rando of One Human Race and, as always, he’s good friends with many of the refugees he’s supporting. Meet some of them below.

“Cut out the bureaucracy, treat them as human beings. They are not just numbers, they are human beings.” - Lisa Campbell, volunteer, Greece

M is 26, married, and from Syria. And he’s bored, so bored, after months’ stuck in Greece., so he volunteers with Rando translating Arabic as needed, which gets him out the shared flat and keeping busy. Already with a degree himself, he just wants to get a job and be reunited with his wife who, wonderfully, has a student visa in Germany. They’ve already been separated for two long months and the official process of reunification could take years. He has little choice but to try to reach Germany with the help of smugglers.

J is 21, married with a baby, and from Tunisia. But her husband was taken from them suddenly just a few days’ ago. She’s spoken to him by phone but she isn’t sure where he is, or why he’s been taken. They’re most likely facing his deportation and she’s sought the help of volunteers who are helping her to stay safe and to get a lawyer. She’s too scared to stay alone in their accommodation and has left. Volunteers have found her a safe place to stay, but what happens next for this young family, we can’t say.

A is 30, married with two boys, from Pakistan. He dreams of opening a restaurant but for now his days are filled being a single dad to the boys and trying to understand his immigration rights so that he and the boys can be back together with their mum as soon as possible. Several months stuck in dire conditions in Greece took its toll on his wife’s mental health and she was forced to continue ahead to Switzerland. Now they’ve been separated a long time and just need to be back together.

H is 41, married (but sadly presumed widowed) with 3 children, and from Eritrea. She’s finding it difficult in a new country alone, but is doing well. She and her children have been granted 3 years’ asylum in Greece and her bright kids (age 14, 11 and 7) are all in school and learning Greek and English well. They’ve a flat to call home, albeit tiny and a little way from the centre. Rando brought H a winter coat and the daughter a long-promised school bag (her face lit up!). The youngest, a boy, showed us his only shoes with the soles hanging off. And both boys really want a football!

This is the kind of vital support One Human Race, and other volunteers, are giving people like M, J, A and H every day...

- Accommodation 
- Food vouchers
- A new coat, a school bag, new shoes, some paper and pencils for drawing
- English, Greek, German, and other classes
- Translated asylum information
- Lawyers
- Counselling and support
- Friendship and respect
- A chance to volunteer and DO something 
- Hope.