Life in Skaramagas refugee camp

As EU plans are changing and relocation applications are rejected, many residents face the reality they have been dreading. The reality of being stuck in a refugee camp.

Photo Credit: Panayiotis Tzamaros / FOS Photo


Routine appears to have overtaken Skaramagas camp, home to over 3,000 refugees. Mainly Syrian Arabs and Kurds, Iraqis and Afghans have been settled there and children account for over half of the population. The arrangement was proclaimed temporary by the Greek government, UNHCR and the EU; a waiting room where they can patiently wait to be resettled elsewhere in Europe. As resettlement applications are rejected and bureaucracy lags, many have already “celebrated” their first anniversary as residents of the camp. Their fear of permanent settlement is only closer to realisation with the EU’s plan to start sending refugees back to Greece.

In a show of subversiveness to their limbo, some refugees founded a school inside the camp. They teach art, maths, English, Arabic and Farsi, in containers they have fashioned into classrooms. “Hope School,” provides children with something conducive to their development to do, instead of sitting around with their families all day. Many parents don’t see the point in sending their kids to Greek school, since they believe there will be no need to learn Greek once they are resettled.

The Caracas Symphony Orchestra played at Skaramagas refugee camp in solidarity to the refugees. Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
Young Kurds in the camp.

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