15 Greek schools welcomed for the first time refugee and migrant children from nearby camps. IOM Greece provided transport and equipped the children with school kits, including notebooks, pens, pencils and other materials.
In conjunction with the Greek Ministry of Education Research and Religious Affairs, the programme will be implemented incrementally, starting with camps in Attica, Thessaloniki and Epirus. During the first day, 12 buses departed from Lavrio, Elaiwnas, Derveni and Lagkadikia camps to take the children to the nearest schools. The children will attend classes from 2pm to 6pm.
“I think that this is one of the most important things that IOM is doing – trying to return these children’s lives to some sort of normality and order. Everything related to education is really crucial,” said IOM Greece Chief of Mission Daniel Esdras.
The education programme is part of an EU Emergency Support-funded IOM project: “Multi-sectoral assistance to and protection of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece”. Under the scheme, IOM will provide transport for 9,000 children from and to school and distribute 10,200 school kits to primary and nursery school children.
“Education in emergency situations is a top priority for the European Commission. Even in the most tragic circumstances, education can give uprooted children a sense of normality. Investing in education now is an investment against the risk of a lost generation and an investment for the future,” said Panos Carvounis, Head of the European Commission Representation in Greece.