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Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission

August 31 2021 - LESBOS PREFECTURE, GREECE

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Lesbos

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Sant'Egidio's summer mission with refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos comes to an end. Yet there is no end to the support and closeness to the migrants who are still on the island. New missions of the Community will be organised in the coming months. Flying kites in the skies of Lesbos, planting olive trees on the "hill of the vests", parties with unaccompanied minors, prayers, and certificates for language courses are signs of hope in a friendship with no borders.

Unaccompanied minors

We spent a few days with some 200 unaccompanied minors living in 7 family homes on the island of Lesvos. Young people aged between 12 and 17 from Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Congo and Guinea Conakry.
They have travelled alone on the dangerous journey to Europe and are now in a sort of "limbo", dreaming of a better future on our continent. The young people shared their dreams - not so different from their European peers - while we were doing day trips together or having lunch at the friendship tent. Some wish to be footballers, others engineers. Many described their anguish of being turned back at sea, their fear for parents and siblings far away and often in danger in their countries of origin.

A kite festival

The School of Peace - a space for games, colours and learning - ended with a party after a summer of activities at the Red Tent. All received a certificate with their name on it, a souvenir they will keep with care.
The final days of the mission were marked by grief and mourning because of the situation in Afghanistan and the attack on Kabul airport: news arrived of family members who had lost their lives in the fighting. We tried to give consolation to so much pain.
When the kites were flown, the children of the School of Peace showed great enthusiasm. The adults, too, watched the kites as a symbol of freedom: the Taliban had banned their use in the past. The kite festival in Afghanistan marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is still, for all Afghans, a sign full of hope.

An olive tree in the life jacket graveyard

All the groups of the Community who came to Lesvos, from various European countries, made a pilgrimage and prayed in the life jacket graveyard, a huge dump on the windswept hill where remains of shipwrecks are thrown. This summer, a young olive tree has been planted on the hillside. It is a sign left by the community to symbolise peace which can take root even in the most difficult conditions.

Awarding certificates to the volunteers

30 young migrant men and women from different countries have been a crucial part of this summer of solidarity in Lesbos: they have helped free of charge at the "friendship tent" to serve a hot meal to those who - like them - live in the "Moria2" camp, and to help communicate (in Farsi or Arabic) with the refugees. A precious presence.
At the end of the activities, during an evening full of song and dance, all of them received a certificate of appreciation for their work. Helping others restores dignity and makes us happy. This is true for those who have experienced a sense of emptiness during their days at the camp. Indeed it is also true for each of us who has volunteered in Lesbos during the summer.

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The Community of Sant'Egidio is committed to supporting the emergency reception of Afghan citizens who have their families in Italy or have work relations with our country.

You can contribute with:

The Community of Sant'Egidio is committed to supporting the emergency reception of Afghan citizens who have their families in Italy or have work relations with our country.

You can contribute with:
- an online donation

- by donating on Facebook fundraising

- or via bank transfer:
IBAN: IT37C0501803200000000223558
Banca popolare Etica
Comunità di S.Egidio ACAP Onlus
piazza S.Egidio 3a  
00153 Roma
reason: Afghanistan emergency
 



Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission
Afghan refugee children's kites in Lesbos: a sign of hope concludes Sant'Egidio's summer mission