Mother and child priority in the refugee camps. Reporting from Skaramagas:
A huge number of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq arrived by boat to the Greek islands last year. And they still arrive. An important part of the refugees are mothers and children. A year ago, when they arrived on the shores of the Greek coast, few of them imagined that, one year later, they are still stranded in Greece! Therefore “a Drop in the Ocean” wish to establish different activities and services for mother and child in the camps. We need financial support to realise these plans.
Around 60.000 refugees are at the moment stuck in Greece. Nobody wants them. The borders into the rest of Europe are closed. While waiting, for their destiny, they are being dispatched into various refugee camps in Greece. Some with better standards than others.
The tasks of the different NGOs present in Greece have changed considerably during the year. From focusing on salvation and first aid to refugees arriving by boats, the need is now more to organize, manage and equip the different refugee camps around Greece.
Skaramagas refugee camp
In Skaramagas refugee camp outside Athens around 3500 inhabitants are settled. Those who have the best spots are living in isoboxes and caravans, sometimes with electricity and water. Others have to live in tents lacking everything. People are waiting. And waiting. For what? The refugees try to survive, but are often terraced by thoughts of hopelessness and discourage.
Their “homes” are from 7 to 12 m2, sometimes housing up to ten family members. The changing seasons, now with winter approaching, leads to extra challenges for the refugees and the NGOs.
Mother and children
To take hand of especially mothers and children, ”a Drop in the Ocean” have installed and equipped a ”Mother and child”-unit. Kind of isobox or caravan. Only women and their children are allowed, as well as young teenage girls.
The ”Mother and Child”-unit proposes different activities in order to improve the well-being and give hope among the women in the camps. The idea behind is to give the mothers and their children a safe place where they can rest, get a break from the stress and the bad conditions in the camp. Women meet other women. They can breastfeed, bath their babies and get different items as baby milk, sanitary towels and diapers. Different activities are being organised as well, such as English conversation, creative workshop, dancing lessons, sport and beauty-evenings. Many of the women have felt humiliation, traumatising experiences and insecurity during the escape. Many of them ask continuously: ”What will happen to me? And my children?”
Important need for financial support
The need for the ”Mother and child”- unit in Skaramagas camp has been important. The demand is huger than the offer can cover today.
That is why ”a Drop in the Ocean” wish to provide even more ”Mother and Child”-units, in the other camps as well. The price tag for such an installation is around 10.000 euros per isobox. The isobox in Skaramagas was donated by an American company.
Contributions can be given directly to our account:
NO3015036754327/account: 1503 67 54327
Can be labelled “mother and child” unit in Greece.
Text Elisabeth Pedersen Guerry Photo Elisabeth Pedersen Guerry, Irene Martin and Cecilie Bråten