"Here indeed are all the children in education"!
Martha and her two children Abraam and Arseny are daily at SolidarityNow's "Education and Creative Activities Centre" in Athens, where they receive the necessary support to integrate more smoothly in Greece.
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-I don't ask for much. I want my children to be healthy and useful to society, I want them to be kind people.
It is impressive how the people who have come to Greece as refugees and we have the opportunity to meet them, when you ask them either for their future or their children’s they always answer something that is related to the others, to the community. The answer never involves one, namely themselves, but the one in relation to the many.
The above dialogue takes place with Martha from Egypt, who at 29 is the mother of two boys and is expecting another one that will come into their lives in a few months. Martha, Abraam and Arseny are daily at SolidarityNow's "Homework and Creative Activities Center" (HCAC) in Athens, which operates within the framework of the "All Children in Education"* program.
"Here indeed are all the children in education", says Martha, smiling sweetly at the group of children who, along with her own, have gathered around us as we begin our conversation.
Then they got bored watching us and scattered around, and thus a mosaic of children was created in front of us; children who don’t speak the same language, but played, drew, discussed, and managed to get along much better than two adults - even two adults who speak the same language.
"When we first came to the HCAC we were welcomed by an interpreter. We didn’t know Greek at all because we had just arrived in Greece. Everyone here helped us a lot!”
At the HCAC, Martha found support to enroll her children in the Greek public school, today the two children receive help with their school lessons and at the same time socialize in an environment where diversity is only and always a virtue. "Every Friday they go crazy! They know they're going to come here after school which is the day they do a bunch of activities and they're happy since morning!”
The acceptance that Abraam and Arseny experience at the HCAC is conveyed to their school as well, they discuss it as much as they can with the other children but above all they put it into practice. Martha has noticed the positive effect of the educational experiences offered in the HCAC on her children:
"They talk about everything they are taught; they describe the fun they have during the activities they participate; they talk about the children they meet in their school and at the HCAC always recognizing the advantages of the diversity that each one brings".
Martha feels she has friends in the Center and is happy to be able to share concerns and find solutions: "They helped me with the children’s vaccination, and it took away my anxiety and worry about it.”
This first year in the new country goes relatively smoothly for Martha and one of the reasons is her experience in the HCAC through which she realizes the importance of education even for herself, since she did not have the opportunity to finish school. We wished Martha all the best for the baby to come and left the Center with a paper plane, gift from Arseny!
*The “All Children in Education” program is implemented by SolidarityNow, with the support from UNICEF Greece and co-funding by the EU.