Greece welcomes refugee children to schools

By Pressenza Athens, 19.10.2016. The Greek Ministry
of Education has secured classrooms and teaching staff on time and succeeded in
welcoming asylum seekers under 15 years of age while preparing and integrating
minors aged 15-18 in vocational education programs for the current school year.

As a result of their
efforts, many of the refugee children joined school classes in various regions
of Greece on October 10, starting from Attica, Central Macedonia and Epirus.
The programme will be gradually extended throughout the country.
The children
travelled by buses provided by the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) to 19 schools and received school supplies and books.
The Ministry of
Education expressed its gratitude to “teachers, parents’ associations,
municipal authorities, numerous student volunteers and the Scientific Committee
for their contribution to the success of the first school day for refugee
children, and for their warm response towards the harmonious integration of
refugee children at school” despite certain reactions in some communities.
Back in May, the
Greek Ministry of Health had begun a vaccination campaign aiming to cover
asylum seekers in the country. Doctors without Borders led the campaign in
collaboration with the General Secretariat of Public Health, the Hellenic
Center for Disease Control & Prevention and the National Health Operations
According to media
reports, more than 7,000 minors between 6 weeks and 15 years of age were
vaccinated by mid-October 2016. The vaccination program covered ten common
childhood diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps,
rubella, Haemophilus influenzae, hepatitis B, polio and pneumococcus) and it is
currently running in the refugee camps in North Greece.
According to
official data, there are more than 60,000 asylum seekers stuck in Greece since
the Balkan countries shut their borders and the implementation of EU-Turkey
agreement began in March. Meanwhile, around 38 percent of those are children
and there are many unaccompanied minors without a parent or guardian among them.
Without a doubt,
Greece faces hard times due to the refugee crisis but it is also faced with a
great opportunity. Both as individuals and as a whole, Greek society may
reflect and take a stance against this absurd war. We may try to reflect on the
conditions we want ourselves and the children of this world to live in, to
reflect on our future as humanity. It is our responsibility to influence things
in favour of life and an open future and not towards the absurdity of hate,
fear and destruction.