It is break time and the courtyard of METAdrasi’s center of non-formal education for refugee and migrant children outside VIAL in Chios is filled with children running and playing. Youssef*, a man of forty-something, is standing by the side watching over them – some of them are his own! His older children are at “home”, a container in VIAL.
Youssef arrived in Greece from his home country, Iraq, together with his wife and his 6 children, at the beginning of 2018. Since then, he is being troubled with procedures that delay. “Everyone keeps telling me “wait”. But until when?”, he wonders.
Begining 5 months ago, Youssef is a member of METAdrasi’s educational team in Chios.
He claims that he is very happy to have the opportunity to practice his favourite profession and support the children of VIAL. “In Iraq there was no hope”, he tells us, “young people there, cannot afford the luxury of having dreams”.
I follow him in the classroom. The children welcome him with broad smiles. Youssef has prepared a pop quiz in English language and he gives them the instructions.
In the educational center’s common space, a literature teacher of our team, talks to me about cooperating with Youssef:
“From the first day we met him, we realized that he is a man of exceptional education and culture, with considerable teaching experience. Because he is particularly modest, he didn’t mention that he used to work as a school headmaster in his home country, but eventually we found it out. We are very lucky that Youssef is now a member of our team. The fact that he speaks 4 languages helps him communicate very well both with the students and the parents. Above all, he is an invaluable teacher!”
METAdrasi’s educational activities in Chios and Lesvos are implemented with the support of UNCHR.