Yesterday morning we worked on finding solutions to answer to the challenges we face in the refugee crisis. What are these challenges exactly? What are their roots or their impact? And how do we find practical solutions to face these challenges?
Every group presented a different challenge such as Islamophobia or lack of integration that they then analyzed in order to find ways to respond to them in a practical way such as through language courses or activities with the locals.
In the second session we started approaching the ‘common language’ we wish to use in order to avoid miscommunication and so that we all set a basis to understand the terminologies and definitions that we need to know in order to address the refugee crisis in an informed and politically correct way.
We then left the floor to Shams who through his great expertise gave a great insight into the procedures needed for a migrant to be recognized as a refugee and the different important terms we need to know in order to understand the big picture of this crisis.
The most important criteria to be defined as a refugee?
Facing a real well funded fear of persecution that forces you to flee.
So each case is treated individually. However, what is defined as the most vulnerable cases are dealt with first.
What was disappointing?
In Europe it can take between 3 to 9 months just to get an interview that will define your status and in the Middle East it can take up to 24 months!
The migrants find themselves in a long and painful wait for a decision from the local government they find themselves in that will then determine their whole life!
UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.
Therefore, this is the of the biggest challenges we face since the creation of the Refugee Status Convention created in 1951!
In the afternoon after a very informative and fun tour around Mytilini with the best of guides, Iannis, we went to visit the support center, Mosaik.
There we met Efi Latsoudi, the 2016 Nansen Award prize winner, who showed us around the center. She explained to us the evolution of the center and the different activities they do in order to support the refugees. From English or Greek classes, to psychological support and arts and crafts workshops. They even have a small shop where they produce bags, or pencil cases from the remains of life jackets washed up on the shores of Lesvos.
This meeting was very inspirational. We were all extremely impressed and moved as to how generous Efi was with sharing her experience and expertise with us. And our general impression of Mosaik was that it was a very intercultural and organized center that seems to help the refugees immensely.
Now that a few thousands of migrants are still stranded on Lesvos waiting for their status to be defined, the Support center appears more important than ever before. A place that can give them back a sense of direction and dignity by offering them the opportunity to learn languages, earn money (by making the life jacket bags) and participate to activities of the local life. For the refugees, Mosaik stands as a reliable place to find stability in times of uncertainty.
Find out more about Mosaik here: Mosaik Website