The story of refugees in the Greek islands has faded from headline news, yet refugees are still there suffering in poor conditions and face daily struggles. Life is hard and it feels to them like mainstream Europe have stopped caring about the crisis and stopped caring about them.
In an effort to revive the art of caring and improve the environment where children seek mental and physical treatment aptART teamed up with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) outside Moria Camp on the Greek Island of Lesbos. Through workshops and activities the children are allowed to express themselves through art, and briefly, a childhood.
Alongside artist, Ruben Sanchez, the children created stencils of their own stories, ones that speak of health and helping each other. These were sprayed across traditional Greek medicinal pots that were painted on the outside a shipping container, used to store medical supplies.
The tents and containers in the clinic that are used for consultations and treatment were also painted with imaginative stories. In additional to wall paintings, Ruben Sanchez and the children got three dimensional, creating colourful animals from recycled scrap wood.
Through workshops the kids had the opportunity to take photos of their daily lives on instant film and paint portraits of themselves. This project explores the hopes of children who fled war in Afghanistan, survived a treacherous sea crossing and have now come to call the razor wires, overcrowded tents and prefabricated containers of Moria Camp home. HUGE THANK YOU to Montana Cans and Revolt Shop in Athens for supporting the work! aptART
The underlying factors that led to more than 1.8 million people to come to Europe since 2014 still exist today and unless the conditions in their home countries improve, people will continue to come.
“The simple truth is that refugees would not risk their lives on a journey so dangerous if they could thrive where they are.” Melissa Fleming UNHCR
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Photo Credit Samantha Robison aptART/ Nicoleta Contouli Médecins Sans Frontières