Meet the children of Idomeni

British Red Cross
2 min readMar 23, 2016

We all remember the thrill of jumping into a good puddle. For the children living in the makeshift camps in Northern Greece, this childhood pastime has taken on a permanence they never anticipated.

Despite sodden blankets and shoes, the children remain filled with hope of a better life. They hope that the border will open soon and they can continue northward to be reunited with their loved ones.

Over 12,000 people, predominantly families, have been stranded by the border in Greece for over three weeks in appalling conditions. More than a week of heavy rain and cold weather is making the situation even more dire with children having to spend their days in soaking clothes and shoes without having access to warmth and proper sanitation.
Lama (three) is warming her fingers with a cup of tea which she got after queueing for an hour in the rain. She has now lived in this muddy field for days with her mother Houda (28) and father. Her siblings Mousa (six), and Dumuu (five) also brave the chill and the rain to play, warm themselves by the tiny fire and queue for tea to warm their fingers.
Ahmed (eight months) stays safely in the arms of big brother Mousa (six). Along with their father, a handy-man by trade, they left their home in Syria almost a month ago and are now stranded at the northern border in Greece hoping to be able to continue onwards. “Please open the border and let us go to be with our family,” Houda pleads, hoping to join her sister in Germany. “We are very tired and now have to spend our days here in the mud with our children being sick and all of us constantly cold.”
Five-year-old Nesrin is a ray of sunshine in bleak Idomeni with her constant smile and warm hugs. She and her six siblings have now been travelling for over a month with their parents, mother Nada (28) and father Faisal (33). Clutching her youngest child, one-year -old Abbas, Nada explains that they had to leave their hometown of Deir ez-Zor when several of their family members were killed in air raids. What they hope for is to finally find safety in Germany.
Farialalnaif (43) from Syria dearly misses her four eldest children and her grandchildren who she hasn’t seen in five months. Thankfully they are safe and sound in Germany where they have been granted asylum. In the hopes of finally seeing them again, she and her husband took the difficult decision to flee Medina and take their four youngest children on a perilous journey that has now lasted for 25 days. Smiling shyly, Heba (13) says that the only thing she is hoping for is to see her sisters again and to be able to go to school.
With the support from right across the Red Cross movement, the Hellenic Red Cross continues to provide relief and healthcare in the most difficult of circumstances.

Pictures and captions courtesy of Mirva Helenius and the Red Cross in Finland.