Refugee children stranded in Greece ‘cannot even hold a pencil’


Some teachers in the camps are trying to teach children in make-shift classrooms

More than one in five school-aged refugee children in Greece have never been to school, a study conducted by aid agency Save the Children reveals.

Child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for on average 1.5 years, and many of them “cannot even hold a pencil”, Independent reports.

Some teachers in the camps are trying to teach children in make-shift classrooms, but as they say, the children are already lagging far behind the schooling levels they should be attaining.

Sacha Myers, Save the Children’s communications manager, said: “Several refugee teachers have started their own initiatives with the small amount of materials they have.

“One primary school teacher from Syria who is now living in Nea Kavala has cleared a space in her tent and has 25 children attending Arabic and maths classes. She told our staff the children have not learnt anything for three or four years and many don’t even know how to hold a pencil or sit and listen in class.”

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said: “Children who have risked everything to reach Europe are now wasting the best years of their lives, in refugee camps, in detention centres, and behind border fences and walls.

“Many know nothing more than conflict, violence, forced displacement, and their current deplorable conditions which offer little hope for their futures.”

The organization Save the Children is currently scaling up its education activities in Greece to provide child refugees with access to basic education through temporary classrooms and provides non-formal lessons – including English and Greek classes.



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