From our experience in humanitarian crises, we’ve seen refugees and migrants actively creating new businesses and social initiatives to create a community and to fill gaps in services. In Jordan's biggest camp, Za'ataari, for example, people are running their own businesses such as supermarkets, falafel stands and even bridal shops.
Girls sharing their stories through a newspaper
In Greece, where more than 60,000 refugees and migrants have been stranded since March 2016, we’re supporting innovative ideas and initiatives.
One bright example is a group of Afghan girls who, in collaboration with Save the Children and our local partner the Network for Children's Rights, created a newspaper that was published along with one of the most popular newspapers in Greece.
In the eight-page newspaper, the girls wrote a variety of stories including how Muslim women feel in Europe and how their living conditions in the camp impact on their daily lives. They also shared their dreams, ideas and recipes from Afghanistan.
Meeting inspiring young refugees
On my way to Save the Children’s education centre in Athens one day, I met Aarif*, an outgoing and smiling 17-year-old refugee boy from Afghanistan. He has been living in a Greek refugee camp for about 15 months with his family.
He was living in Iran before his family decided to move to Europe in search of a better life. The lack of basic rights of Afghans in Iran pushed Aarif's family to take this life-changing decision.
"In Iran Afghans don’t have basic rights,” he tells me. “They can’t go to university and they can’t work. The government doesn’t even give them ID cards. I left Iran, at the first grade of high school. I need two more years to finish high school and then I want to study IT and have my own family. I hope that in this country I can do that.”
Filling the education gap
Photo: Afghan girls during ECDL exams organized by Save the Children with the help of European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.
The formal education system in Greece is not prepared yet to provide introductory courses for children between 15-18 years old so they can gradually integrate into the Greek schools. Hence, Aarif tries to learn Greek by himself and with the help of some of his Greek friends. We’ve also provided Aarif and other students with 45 hours of classes to prepare them for the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).
Photo: Aarif during ECDL exams organized by Save the Children with the help of European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.
Aarif’s dream is to become an IT expert, and we’re helping him to achieve this goal – even if it’s just the small first step.
At Save the Children we believe innovation and creativity should be an important part of our education programmes. With the help of European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, our aim is to provide children and young people with the tools to become an equal part of society and part of the solution to the problems that crisis-affected communities face.
Save the Children is calling for all children to have the right to survive, learn and be protected. In particular, we believe no child refugee should be out of school for more than 30 days to ensure they don’t fall behind and waste the best years of their lives.