'One Night He Fell Into The Water...'
The UN estimates that more than 30% of the 57,000 refugees currently stranded in Greece are unaccompanied minors.
All children should be housed in specialist accommodation where they can receive support services. Presently there is inadequate provision of accommodation, which means that some children (already extremely vulnerable) are being placed in protective custody in police stations, or reception facilities on the Greek islands.
There is a gentleness about Faraidoon. As we chat I learn that he and his brother, Farzad, are here in Greece alone. They do not know where their parents or other siblings are; Faraidoon tells me that they were lost in Afghanistan.
‘I don’t know where my parents are, if they are safe or if they are alive. I don’t know if they ran away, or if they got out of Afghanistan. Every single minute there were bombs. I was lost for two days there, alone. When I found my brother I took his hand and we just ran away. Every day, every day there was war.’
They have been in the camp in Agios Andreas for four months and in Greece for seven. Faraidoon almost lost his brother, Farzad, when he fell overboard on the journey across the Aegean Sea.
‘I lost my brother once. In the boat from Turkey to Greece, during the night he fell from the boat into the water. He almost died. I took his hand and saved him. There were a lot of high waves…we don’t have sea to swim in, in Afghanistan (he says this by way of communicating that they cannot swim). The journey was three hours. It was an old boat, made of plastic. There were eighty people on the boat.’
Farzad doesn’t speak at all.
Before they left Afghanistan, Faraidoon was studying engineering and Farzad was still in school.
‘I want to have a future. To work…just to have a future. It is very hard to think about the future. But we have to be hopeful. It is not about me only.’
Christian Aid is funding a shelter for unaccompanied minors in Greece, which will be run by our partner Apostoli. Furthermore, Christian Aid funds the Greek Council for Refugees to provide legal protection services to children and families.