Over the course of the last two months, Afghan M & R Community Center, Generation Outside Afghanistan, and Afghans Empowered have been working together to establish a temporary shelter for refugees in precarious living situations.
During Ramadan, we raised over 777£ for our temporary shelter. We are workng with a generous home owner who has provided a suitable home that accommodates 12 people. Meanwhile, we continue to raise funds so that we can continue welcoming vulnerable refugees to this home. We have already welcomed several residents to the shelter.
As we continue to operate this shelter, we hope to share the stories of its residents. Through the consent of two of our first residents, we share their story here. All names have been changed for privacy and safety.
The Story of Ali*
Ali was deported from Switzerland on March 18, 2022. He had reached Greece in 2017 through Lesvos and placed in a facility for unaccompanied minors.
When he was recognized as a refugee, he travelled to Switzerland and requested asylum there as well. A little over 8 months in Switzerland, the Swiss authorities notified Ali he had to return to Greece as his residence permit had been issued in Greece. He didn’t pay much attention to these notices thinking he would be accepted to remain in Switzerland. The third notification was a warning he would be accompanied to Greece if he didn’t leave so he decided to return willingly by himself.
For a week he was without shelter sleeping on the streets in central Athens. He called the Afghan M&R Community in Greece stating he’s in need of help as he was alone in Athens and we told him to meet us at the Community offices. He said he had nowhere to stay, explaining that as a recognized refugee he is not permitted to reside in a camp or in one of the organizations.
For this reason the Afghan M&R Community in Greece, with the cooperation of Afghans Empowered and Generation Outside Afghanistan, established a shelter for homeless refugees. Our Community found a temporary safe shelter for him as well as assisted him n renewing his documents and finding him employment to support him in his endeavor to integrate into local society.
The Story of Mohib*
Mohib arrived in Greece as a minor and gave an interview on Lesvos. He was then transferred to Thessaloniki and placed in a hotel for unaccompanied minors. Without receiving documents, he managed to reach Switzerland where he requested asylum. He remained there for over 6 months but the Swiss authorities found he had submitted his interview and been fingerprinted in Greece.
While in Switzerland, the decision he had been recognized as a refugee in Greece was issued. The Swiss authorities notified him he must return to Greece but because he didn’t have his Greek residence permit, Mohib was held at a Swiss detention centre. He hadn’t believed he would be returned to Greece.
On April 26, 2022, twenty policemen in uniform accompanied him on board a plane on which he was the only passenger. No other refugee was being accompanied. That is, one flight for one minor who had just turned 18, violently returned by 20 policemen. Upon arrival to the Athens airport, Mohib was handed over to the Greek airport authorities and two policemen led him to the exit. He asked them how he can continue without money, documents and shelter and the policemen gave him an email contact to request information on the course of his documents.
He arrived at Victoria square, found where our Community is located and we found him shelter immediately as he was exhausted. We ended his suffering. He is safe now and his case will proceed with the aid of our legal service. Subsequently, we will find him employment for him to live independently.
Both Ali and Mohib continue to benefit from the services provided at the community center. They are among a group of newcomers who are current residents at the shelter. Our temporary shelter provides vital support for individuals and families who have no where else to go. We are committed to providing the tools and assistance necessary to empower our residents and to provide long term solutions for them to build their livelihoods and gain their independence.
To support our shelter, visit our Just Giving Link