‘My school’ in the Katsikas refugee camp

In the Katsikas refugee camp, in north-western Greece, the aim is for the boys and girls living there to lead a normal day-to-day life in spite of the circumstances.

One of the children’s daily activities, therefore, as in many parts of the world, is to attend the little school that has been built there with the help of some NGOs and the refugees themselves. The school in this camp has gradually evolved since its beginnings in April this year. At first, the ‘school’ was just a tent with no floor and four benches where about 40 excited children fought to get the front row seats.

Despite speaking in four different languages, the children are keen to learn and attended the daily English lessons that volunteers from different countries gave even though they didn’t speak either Kurdish, Pashto or Arabic.

As the months went by, hard work by the refugees and NGOs created 5 brightly colored wooden huts with a fence around them. Over the large main doorway, a colorful notice, ‘My School’, left one in no doubt. The number of children attending the school had multiplied!

The new school was divided into four age groups and even had a room for staff meetings. Head of the school was 27-year-old Firas from Bosra (Siria), helped by other refugees like Walaa, an Economics student who gave Maths lessons, or Maria, who taught Natural Science. The school had a large noticeboard, where a calendar of daily activities was hung with a great variety of subjects for all the groups.

What’s more, the Halib Halib program, part of the nutritional backup program, distributes baby milk, cereals and biscuits to complement the schoolchildren’s breakfast.

And now what? Recently, with the support of volunteers who have been working selflessly in the camp and different NGOs, a new school has been set up in the hangar used as a warehouse. In this way, the children are more protected from the cold, wind and rain that lash the camp from September on.