Two years after some European governments decided to shut their borders in the face of people fleeing war and persecution, over sixty thousand are still stuck in Greece. On top of harsh living conditions, those seeking asylum face the added stress of a long and uncertain wait during the application process. Greece’s bureaucratic machine works slowly, yet, systematically, people are starting to learn about their future.
Unfortunately a confirmed decision often turns out to be even more difficult to deal with. Many asylum claims are rejected, but success can also bring misery. Greece, which is still dealing with a severe economic crisis, has very little to offer. Two and a half years since refugees began to arrive in large numbers, circumstances are getting worse. Media attention has already left the country and volunteers are following in their footsteps. Large humanitarian agencies whose purpose is to respond to emergencies are moving to other parts of the globe. Wealthier European countries turn their backs on Greece and are increasingly reluctant to fulfil their obligations and values. Meanwhile the Greek state is expected to take over management and financing of many aspects of the reception and integration system.
Given the austerity that has severely affected the country for many years already, Greeks have been forced to innovate, and have developed alternative ways of supporting each other. There are many grassroots initiatives and small organizations in the country that offer various kinds of humanitarian support, including in the field of education.