Since the closure of Greece’s borders following the highly criticised EU-Turkey deal in March this year, around 48,000 refugees remain stranded on the mainland. In the capital of Athens, barbed wire, high fences and armed guards surround Skaramagas and Schisto camps. Inside, where conditions are poor and food is limited, thousands of people wait for their asylum claims to be processed. These pictures give a snapshot of what life is like inside an Athens refugee camp.
Life in the camp
Skaramagas camp is located in a vast industrial area next to the commercial port of Piraeus.
The camp is run by the Greek navy and is surrounded by high fences and barbed wire, leaving people in what almost looks like a prison camp.
Many of the children living in these camps will have been out of school for a long time now, their education disrupted by escalating conflict and violence in their own countries.
Mothers, children and families are often offered accommodation in Portakabin-like structures. They are given a simple mattress and blankets to sleep on.
Overcrowding in many of the camps means some refugees have been forced to sleep in tents on the ground.
ActionAid's emergency response in Athens
We have been responding to the situation in Greece for over a year. In addition to our work on the island of Lesvos, earlier this year, ActionAid launched an emergency response programme in Skaramagas and Schisto camps working with the some of the most vulnerable women and children in the capital’s refugee camps.
ActionAid's social workers, psychologists and cultural mediators speak Arabic and Farsi and offer psychosocial support and educational activities to the women in the camp. They offer personal and group support sessions, helping them to understand their asylum claims and talk through any issues they may be facing.
Inside, the spaces offer a comfortable and private area where women can breastfeed their babies, have a cup of coffee and talk about their experiences.
But we are now at a crisis point – our funding is running out. We will have to close our refugee services in Greece unless an urgent solution is found.
Please, donate now to help these families who have lost everything. Your money will go directly to keeping our vital services open in Greece.
Photo credit: Irene Koutoula/ActionAid.