The benefits of education are indisputable. Beyond the widely acknowledged reduction in inequalities garnered through the acquisition of skills and knowledge, access to education builds a support network and provides pathways to hygiene, legal and health services. These are all fundamental to integration. However this basic right and its associated benefits have been neglected for young asylum seekers in Greece for over 5 years.
For a long time, Greece has not been a point of transit for asylum seekers. Often, asylum seekers, whether on the islands or the Greek mainland, experience lengthy and complex stays.
There is capacity and benefits to increasing the quality, quantity and transparency of education programmes, both formal and non-formal, for young adult refugees and asylum seekers, and it should be a response given by the competent authorities alongside NGOs working in the field.
Furthermore, having the benefits of education means fostering healthy relationships amongst different communities, where support can be given between the local and the incoming, making this both hugely beneficial and sustainable. Being part of this intricate relationship, NGOs play an essential role in building bridges and ties between both of them.
A humane response to education and the services surrounding it must be guaranteed by all the actors involved, both official and informal. The institutional and governmental capacity already exists but is denied, and so currently, NGOs must cover this immense gap through non-formal education and psychosocial support.
We are demanding access to equal and quality education for people on the move.