Elias standing on the balcony of his apartment in Exarchia. Photo: Gerasimos Domenikos / FOS Photos

“We are not just refugees, we are who we are. I mean real people.”

He fled Afghanistan in 2016. Now he is rebuilding his life in Athens.

Sotiris Sideris
Jan 20 · 2 min read

This is the second story from our profile video project following young refugees who fled war in the Middle East and are now trying to move on with their lives in Greece.

I first met Elias in June 2018. It was my first editorial meeting with the multilingual newspaper Migratory Birds as the coordinator of the project. He was an old and experienced member already, calm and kind as always.

When he and his family made it to Greece’s mainland in 2016, they stayed in the refugee camp of Lavrio, a sea-port town in the southeastern part of Attica. Today, after many ups-and-downs, they live in a flat in Exarchia, in the center of Athens.

Elias is now working as a cultural mediator at the NGO Generation 2.0 for Rights, Equality & Diversity while taking photos and writing articles for the multilingual newspaper Migratory Birds.

“I have the most beautiful office and kindest colleagues,” he texted me a couple of weeks after our interview. “Finally, I can invest more money in my photography, thanks to this job. It will definitely give me more options for my upcoming projects. I’m excited. Our contract on the house has been renewed for another 2 months. I hope my family finds a new place for us to stay when it’s finished or takes any other decision that will guide us to the light.”

When I asked him about the accommodation scheme by UNHCR he and his are part of, he told me: “Having enough support and living in a house or having just food to eat is not the point. It’s like just trying to survive not really living.”


AthensLive is a non-profit, on-the-ground source for stories from Athens and throughout Greece.

Sotiris Sideris

Written by

Data journalist & co-founder @AthensLiveGr . Fellow @BerthaFN & @SNForg . Producer of @TheUndocumente3 . TA @media_uoa


AthensLive is a non-profit, on-the-ground source for stories from Athens and throughout Greece.

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