– June 19 2020
Letters from Lesbos
Refugee children share their letters home
Measures taken on the Greek island of Lesbos to avoid the spread of COVID-19 included suspending direct contact between service providers and people living in the refugee camps. Despite the restrictions, the team of SOS Children’s Villages Greece on Lesbos continued to provide educational support to students and their families through distance learning and by distributing school worksheets.
Remedial classes and language support are part of SOS Children’s Villages Greece’s programme. The main goal is to support students learning and liaise between the families and the authorities responsible for registering and monitoring reception classes.
Approximately 130 students living in the Kara Tepe camp are registered in official reception classes supported by the Greek government for primary and secondary education (students between 6-17 years).
In the morning, the students attend the same class together with Greek children. This includes Greek language class, mathematics, physics, English, sports, music etc.
In the afternoon, there are reception classes focusing on Greek class, mathematics and English and including some hours of music and sports. Most of the students attend afternoon reception classes in order to learn the language and to be eventually able to take part in the morning classes.
In one school project, girls attending a Greek language class were asked to describe what they wanted to be when they grow up, and why. The project encouraged the girls from Afghanistan – aged 10 to 12 - to set goals for themselves and shape their future, despite living in an environment that does not nurture their skills.
As the girls felt the need to share their dreams with someone close to them, SOS Children’s Villages Greece came up with the idea to have the girls send a letter to a beloved friend who is in their home county. The idea led them to discuss their dreams with their classmates and teachers and some decided to draw a picture of how they imagined themselves in the future.
Below are the English versions of select examples of the letter-writing project, which show the girls’ hopes and resilience amidst a situation leaving little room for future dreams.
From: Afsane, 11 years, from Afghanistan
How are you? I am very well! Right now, I am in Greece and I live with my family in the Kara Tepe camp. I only go to school on Tuesdays at noon. I also go to the SOS school, to learn English very well. My favourite subjects are physics and mathematics. I study hard because I want to finish school and become an astronaut. I am very interested in space. What about you? What is your favourite subject? What would you like to become when you grow up?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
From: Nazani, 11 years, from Afghanistan
Hello, how are you? I am very well, living in Greece! Where are you?
Do you go to school? I only go to school on Mondays. In the afternoon, I ride my bicycle with my friends. My favorite subjects are English, Greek and mathematics. When I grow up, I want to become a fashion designer, because I like making a lot of clothes for people.
What are your favorite subjects?
With all my love,
A drawing in Nazanin's letter to a friend
From: Zahra, 10 years, from Afghanistan
How are you? I am very well! Right now, I am in Greece and I live with my family in Kara Tepe camp. Every afternoon I go to the park and I do gymnastics with my friends.
When I grow up I want to become a gymnast because I like sports and I also like teaching children.
From: Reihane, 12 years, from Afghanistan
Good evening Sohaila,How are you? I am very well! Now, I am in Greece and I live with my family in the Kara Tepe camp. For now, I have school only on Mondays and at noon. I also go to the SOS Children’s Villages school, to learn English very well. My favorite subjects are history and physics. I study very hard because I want to finish school and become a journalist. I want to become a journalist because I want to travel all over the world and meet new people. I also want to learn about their culture and foods. What do you want to be when you grow up?