ARE WE EUROPE
ARE WE EUROPE
 After the Taliban killed 8 of their family members in Pakistan, they decided it was time to leave the country and head off to Europe. Highly educated as they are, they have been inside this container for around 9 months already. Their children haven't gotten any education for 2 years. They speak fluent English.

Photo Series: The Aegean Prison

JORIS VAN GENNIP

by Joris van Gennip | Website

The Aegean islands are home to some 10.000 refugees and migrants from all over the world. 

Since the `EU-Turkey Refugee Deal` the influx of refugees has decreased but certainly not ceased.

Joris van Gennip visited the Greek island of Chios to document refugee camps. 

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 After the Taliban killed 8 of their family members in Pakistan, they decided it was time to leave the country and head off to Europe. Highly educated as they are, they have been inside this container for around 9 months already. Their children haven't gotten any education for 2 years. They speak fluent English.

After the Taliban killed 8 of their family members in Pakistan, they decided it was time to leave the country and head off to Europe. Highly educated as they are, they have been inside this container for around 9 months already. Their children haven't gotten any education for 2 years. They speak fluent English.

 In the background: the main centre of VIAL where refugees and migrants get medical care and have their so called interviews to determine if they are to travel to Athens or not.   

In the background: the main centre of VIAL where refugees and migrants get medical care and have their so called interviews to determine if they are to travel to Athens or not.

 

 The inhabitants of the center have made holes in the fences in order to provide more freedom of movement for themselves

The inhabitants of the center have made holes in the fences in order to provide more freedom of movement for themselves

 Hairdresser from Syria doing his job “I don’t want food or clothes, I want a life”.

Hairdresser from Syria doing his job “I don’t want food or clothes, I want a life”.

 Every day at fixed times breakfast, lunch and dinner is handed out at the camp by volunteers. Especially during dinner the situation can spiral out of control for reasons from theft to somebody not getting in line. Tensions are high at the camp. Youssef, a young Moroccan soccer player who fled for financial reasons was playing soccer in the morning with children with a large smile on his face. “ I’ll stay a day or six, then I’ll head over to Athens ”. The same night there was a riot between two groups of refugees. “ You think it is safe for me to sleep here tonight? Will the police arrest me? ”. He looked tired and worrisome.

Every day at fixed times breakfast, lunch and dinner is handed out at the camp by volunteers. Especially during dinner the situation can spiral out of control for reasons from theft to somebody not getting in line. Tensions are high at the camp. Youssef, a young Moroccan soccer player who fled for financial reasons was playing soccer in the morning with children with a large smile on his face. “I’ll stay a day or six, then I’ll head over to Athens”. The same night there was a riot between two groups of refugees. “You think it is safe for me to sleep here tonight? Will the police arrest me?”. He looked tired and worrisome.

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 Making a fire is the only way to provide heating during the cold nights in Souda camp. The camp does not provide heating systems. The cover provided by tents, extra blankets and these fires are the only ways to cope with the cold.

Making a fire is the only way to provide heating during the cold nights in Souda camp. The camp does not provide heating systems. The cover provided by tents, extra blankets and these fires are the only ways to cope with the cold.

 Typical evening scene inside the VIAL enclosure. Many of the families and children go outside to socialize and to be together since the public space provides more freedom than their individual containers.   

Typical evening scene inside the VIAL enclosure. Many of the families and children go outside to socialize and to be together since the public space provides more freedom than their individual containers.

 

 Football is a favorite way for children to pass time in Souda camp, next to the games being organized by the volunteers.

Football is a favorite way for children to pass time in Souda camp, next to the games being organized by the volunteers.

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 On the surface it seems that children are not that much affected by the situation: they play games, smile and seem to be happy. Yet the lack of education, proper food and the fear for attacks or riots is worsening the children's state of mind and hope for the future. I met a young Syrian girl who could literally name every capital in every country in the world. She has not been to school for over two years.

On the surface it seems that children are not that much affected by the situation: they play games, smile and seem to be happy. Yet the lack of education, proper food and the fear for attacks or riots is worsening the children's state of mind and hope for the future. I met a young Syrian girl who could literally name every capital in every country in the world. She has not been to school for over two years.

 For single men without a refugee status, the process of getting an answer about your future is incredibly long. Vulnerable cases such as women, children, handicapped and so forth are given priority. Most African men have spend months and months in either camp.

For single men without a refugee status, the process of getting an answer about your future is incredibly long. Vulnerable cases such as women, children, handicapped and so forth are given priority. Most African men have spend months and months in either camp.

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 Normally there are 12 people in this container.   

Normally there are 12 people in this container.

 

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 One advantage of VIAL is that every family or people from the same country have their own container. Nigerians next to Afghans and Afghans next to Pakistanis.

One advantage of VIAL is that every family or people from the same country have their own container. Nigerians next to Afghans and Afghans next to Pakistanis.