The bell rings daily for more than 700 refugee and migrant children that participate in METAdrasi’s educational activities in Athens, Lesvos and Chios, while their reunification/relocation in another European country or their integration into Greek schools is pending. Following the fruitful cooperation with the “Open Schools” programme of the Athens Municipality, from June 2017, METAdrasi aims to meet the educational needs of children living in camps or on hotspots on the islands, by focusing primarily on structured education and secondly on recreational activities.
In this context, METAdrasi with the support of UNHCR, initiated, in January 2018, the implementation of non-formal Education Centers in Lesvos, for children from Kara Tepe and Moria, as well as in Chios, for children from VIAL, in spaces outside the hotspots. METAdrasi delivers mainly Greek, Mathematics and English lessons, based on the official programme of the Ministry of Education.
“The number of children that remain trapped for long periods of time in the island’s hotspots is high. Many of them have never been to school. All of them, however, are enthusiastic to participate in activities that will aid their personal development and stimulate their growth as learners, along with other children of the same age. We were moved by their enthusiasm for the beginning of the first day of lessons, when they created queues a long time before. From then on, they continue to come daily with the same enthusiasm! As for their parents, they visit us regularly, expressing their interest in their children’s progress” mentions Anastasia Karagianni, METAdrasi’s Education Officer in Chios.
A particular effort is being made to support children with special educational needs, so as to prevent their exclusion from education. As Konstantinos Karakouzidis, METAdrasi’s Education Officer in Lesvos says: “We have referred cases of children with special needs, in order for them to integrate into an appropriate educational framework, as soon as possible”.
“METAdrasi’s purpose is to put emphasis on children’s education outside the hotspots and the mainland’s camps, so as to enable their smooth integration into the official school system” stresses METAdrasi’s president Lora Pappa.
Inside his new classroom, 8-year-old Samir from Syria is playing with his new friends, waiting for the lesson to start. “I am glad that finally I have notebooks and pencils and that I am learning to write”, he tells us, and continues: “Greek is difficult, but my teachers are great and they help me. Mathematics seems like a game!”