In Syria, Mohammed Nabeel was an engineer and his wife Rania was a wedding photographer. Then the war destroyed their comfortable lives and their growing family. Two years later they found themselves stuck on a refugee camp without the means and support to rebuild their lives. Mohammed wrote movingly about his story here. Unfortunately, his story is all too common.
It is with the Mohammed Nabeels and Ranias in mind that today we launch our business fund for refugees at Katsikas camp. It’s the next step in our model to bring dignity and normality to people who have had to flee war and now find themselves hostage to a uncaring bureaucracy.
The concept of the business fund for refugees is simple. We are asking people on the camp to submit a one-page business proposal. For every proposal that looks viable, we will provide a fund of €1,000 plus all the legal and coaching support they need to get that business started. You can see the offer here (also translated in Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish and Pashto).
Asylum applications are taking far too long to be processed. Many are now being told they will have to wait over 18 months for the interview that will give them opportunity to move on. Waiting on a camp, relying on handouts is no life for anyone. There are good reasons for this project now:
- We know that there are huge talents and abilities on the camp that are going to waste
- It will go some way to combat the mental health crisis that is growing as a result of living in this environment
- It will help to build links and integration with the Greek community
- They will acquire skills and experience they can take with them when they do get off the camp
Critically, they will start to take their futures back into their own hands.
We are going to leave the final words to Mohammed Nabeel. Who doesn’t want this?
Photos by Celeste Hibbert