Greek School On The Island Of Tilos Opens Its Doors To 17 Refugee Children, Who Now Make Up A Third Of Schoolchildren On The Island

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Greek School On The Island of Tilos Opens Its Doors To 17 Refugee Children, Who Now Make Up A Third Of Schoolchildren On The Island

Photo: Teachers and refugee school children pose outside the primary school at Tilos. Maria Kamma/Facebook

A school on the Greek island of Tilos has opened its doors to refugee children who found their way onto the island after their families fled war and persecution. Sitting in the Dodecanese archipelago, Tilos is home to just 780 people, and currently 25 refugees, 17 children and 8 parents. This means that one-third of children now attending the tiny school are asylum seekers.

All of the refugees reached Tilos in the last couple of years and include students from The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Palestine and Syria. They are currently housed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. At present, the UN is hosting 22,000 refugees and asylum seekers in 21 cities and towns within Greece.

Maria Kamma-Aliferi, the Mayor of Tilos, told Greek reporter:

"The whole island welcomed them and their integration into the local community was exemplary. We receive love from these people. We want these people to be happy, especially the children. Through the program, we want the refugees to get to know our island, to be able to find a job and to be integrated, to stay here. This is what my relatives did when they became economic immigrants to America."

Since the outbreak of civil war in Syria and the breakdown of international borders in the Middle East, a huge number of refugees and asylum seekers have made their way into Turkey and across the sea to the Greek islands, particularly Kos, Lesvos, Rhodes and Symi. Greece is the key entry point to the European Union from the Middle East and Central Asia, though a similar large migration crisis has also seen people flee North Africa by boat towards Italy.

Since 2015, almost 1 million refugees have entered Greek territory, most on their way to Germany and Northern Europe, where they hope to achieve a better and safer life for themselves and their families. This refugee crisis occurred at the exact same time that Greece underwent the worst economic crisis a Western nation had faced in generations.

The hospitality and care that Greek citizens have shown towards these refugees has been exemplary, with schools such as this one in Tilos opening its doors and thousands of others contributing towards food, medical aid and shelter.

It has been feared that Turkish president Recep Erdogan will, as part of an intimidation tactic against the European Union, threaten to reopen the sea border to Greece and allow millions more refugees to flood in. How the EU would deal with such an event is as of yet unclear.

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Thinking Humanity: Greek School On The Island Of Tilos Opens Its Doors To 17 Refugee Children, Who Now Make Up A Third Of Schoolchildren On The Island
Greek School On The Island Of Tilos Opens Its Doors To 17 Refugee Children, Who Now Make Up A Third Of Schoolchildren On The Island
A school on the Greek island of Tilos has opened its doors to refugee children who found their way onto the island after their families fled way onto
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