By Avra Fiala, IFRC
Moussa and Hosin fled Syria a year ago with their six young children. They feared the war would only get worse. Now their village has been destroyed by bombs.
“We lived in an area under ISIS control. The news said that our home was bombed yesterday.” said mum Moussa. “It was extremely difficult to come from Syria here with all our children. They are very young and they were scared especially in the boat trip from Turkey to Lesvos. But it was the right thing to do.”
Since arriving in Nea Kavala, Moussa and Hosin have welcomed another baby into their family. One month old Stabrak is safe from war but is likely to spend her early life in a camp.
Moussa holds Stabrak in her arms and says over the last twelve months the camp has improved a lot, but it’s still difficult to raise children in such cramped conditions, without any certainty about the future and limited control over the present.
“We now receive cash support from the Red Cross,” she said. “Things are better with the money they give us because we know best what we need for our family. For example, we buy gas for our small cooker, spices and food that we need and clothing for the baby.”
“You feel like a normal person again”
The Hellenic Red Cross is providing cash assistance to asylum seekers and refugees currently stranded in Greece. The programme enables people to buy what they need most – be it food, medicines, clothes, mobile phone credit or public transport. In December, the Red Cross provided cash assistance to 2,750 people.
Issa, a young engineer from Aleppo, has also lived at Nea Kavala for a year and volunteers with the Red Cross. He said cash assistance gives people the dignity and independence to make choices and not be constantly asking for help: “You feel like a normal person again. I can decide what I need and what to buy.”
Striving for a feeling of normality is a constant struggle for people stranded in Greece – anything that can bring some routine or feeling of home is important. For Moussa and Hosin’s family, a big breakthrough is beginning – the kids are about to start school.
“They’re so excited and have been getting ready for weeks already,” Hosin said.