Masoud proudly lifts his bedding to reveal the construction of his makeshift bed. He has hammered together four wooden pallets and fitted legs underneath. Poorly padded by a yoga mat covered by two woollen blankets, it seems to radiate heat in the airless June afternoon. But the 34-year-old Syrian chef has a solution for the stifling conditions too.
Outside the three-tent compound he has stitched together for his family of four, he has constructed a sort of summerhouse in the shade of some pine trees: a platform raised on several metal drums and rendered private by a bedsheet. Masoud’s wife, Mezgin, spends her afternoons there cooling off, while four-year-old Mohamed digs holes in the earth with a claw-hammer and elder sister Linda, nine, works on a potted flower garden. Masoud has even built an earthen cooking stove, connected to a chimney on one side and an oven on the other. He fuels it with dead wood foraged from the surrounding pine forest.
This Syrian refugee version of the Swiss Family Robinson is part of a growing narrative in self-reliance at Ritsona, a former Hellenic Air Force radar station about 100 kilometres north of Athens. The facility has been abandoned for decades and, even by rural Greek standards, it is the middle of nowhere.
Three months ago, as borders were reinstated across the Balkans and more than 50,000 refugees who had intended to make their way to northern Europe became stranded in Greece, the government began parcelling them out to abandoned military camps. Some 800 landed in Ritsona. Many have applied for asylum in Greece or relocation elsewhere in Europe, but both processes are likely to take months.
For volunteers and NGOs, as well as the refugees themselves, the emphasis has shifted. Initially, it was about providing anything and everything that was needed. Now, it’s more about helping the refugees fend for themselves, handing out tools and pallets for example….
Sep 26, 2020Bangladesh will bring the unresolved Rohingya crisis before the global leaders today (Saturday) apparently reminding everybody of the failure to find a durable solution to the crisis amid Myanmar’s non-fulfilment of repatriation pledge, officials said, reports UNB. Bangladesh will also seek genuine efforts from the global community to help Rohingyas return to their place of […]