Their homes are taken, their Future not- 24/4-1/5/17 Chios island-Greece
We traveled from Cyprus to the island of Chios, Greece to represent Cyprus and PlanBe at the youth exchange “Their homes are taken, their futures not” and its subject matter was about the refugee crisis. The project was developed by the Greek NGO ‘Horizons for Youth’ and funded by Erasmus+. Participating countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Spain and Turkey. was the title of the program. Chios was a perfect place to observe and discuss the situation. We discussed the conditions in each of our respective countries and the history of refugees in our countries. The legalities of obtaining a refugee status. How the laws restrict these people from wanting to reach one country and flee the other. The combination of the economic crisis and the refugee crisis and how that affects the local economies and tourism. The European agreements about refugees. The Christian vs Muslim issue. And so many more subjects. On the island we met both sites. Refugees traveling through the war zones of Syria, rough terrain, and wild seas to get to safety. Refugees or rather migrants (from Algeria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) travelling through terrible conditions and giving all their life’s savings to smugglers in order to get to Europe and to a better life. Last but not least we met the islanders, Chios’ original residents. All living together on an island filled with conflicted feelings!
We had the chance to visit the refugee camp at Souda, the smallest of the two on the island and also the unaccompanied children’s house. Moreover, we talked to the residents of the camp about their journeys and hardships, about their lives then and now and their future hopes.We also had the chance to meet with the managing NGO and the vice Mayor of Chios and discuss with them. Additionally, according to the project’s activities we had to talk to locals and interview them about the situation on the island, the problems they face, their fears and hopes and also the ways they face the future. But in these youth exchange projects we also need to get to know each other. So we organized cultural nights with food and drinks from our respective countries. We chatted with each other during lunches and coffee brakes and partied together all through the night.
Thank you, Erasmus + and PlanBe for this opportunity!