Cleopatra, member of METAdrasi’s “Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors”, tells the story of three young children, from the day she undertook their support until their reunification with their mother:
“In 2016, three young siblings, Ehab, Adib and Saleen*, started their journey from Syria to their mother in Germany. Their only help was their 15-year-old cousin.
Three months later, at the refugee center in Samos, I remember their exhausted and fearful faces squeezed around their cousin. I welcomed them in METAdrasi and immediately initiated the necessary procedures to promote their best interest and their reunification with their mother.
In April 2016, METAdrasi’s “home” -the first transit accommodation facility in Samos-welcomed them; warm water, clean sheets, homemade food, good care and a lot of playing. Just before summer, during an excursion to the sea, I remember Saleen making her first dive in the calm waters of the Aegean, collecting pebbles and humming in Arabic. Ehab shared with me his dreams about his life in Europe. In July 2016, at the asylum service, signing the documents for family reunification with Adib, I see tears in his eyes; his words a few months ago, come alive again: “Why I left Syria? Because of the war, our father died, we lost our house, we have nothing there anymore.”
And the big day for the journey is approaching! Only a few days, then a few hours left. METAdrasi’s team is there to say goodbye. I set off with them. It is Adib’s birthday, the airhostess is welcoming him with sweets and the pilot invites him in the pilothouse; it is the first flight of his life. First take off; Saleen is leaning against the airplane window saying: “bye bye Samos… I love you”. Night comes, day breaks at Athens airport; anticipation and fatigue. Second take off. At last, the airplane lands in Germany. Saleen is fixing the pink ribbon in her hair, Adib‘s phone reminder vibrates, the big moment has arrived!
Their mother is standing just in front of us, with her younger son. A loud cry (I am shocked), she is embracing all her children (I am touched). They are pulling me towards them, tears and laughters, countless thanks and happy commemorative photos!
Suddenly I feel an intense yearn for my son. When a love journey ends, another begins…”
“Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors” is funded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) and Avaaz.
* Children’s names have been changed