Since 2015 over one million people fleeing war, poverty and natural disaster in the Middle East, South Asia and East and West Africa have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in the hope of finding peace and a dignified life in Europe.
Mercy Corps, Norwegian Refugee Council
Since 2015 over one million people fleeing war, poverty and natural disaster in the Middle East, South Asia and East and West Africa have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in the hope of finding peace and a dignified life in Europe. At the height of the influx in 2015, the people of Greece showed exceptional solidarity. The heroic work of Greek volunteers saved lives and provided a safe space for thousands of people arriving on Greek shores.1 As time has passed, these people face new challenges. With policy regulations, border closures and the introduction of the EU-Turkey deal on 20 March 2016, over 60,000 people are now stranded in Greece. Many refugees and migrants endure inadequate living conditions, face extremely slow asylum application procedures, and a lack of reliable information about their futures.
Of the 7.3 billion people in the world today, approximately 1.8 billion are adolescents and youth between 10-25 years old. At no other point in history has the world been so demographically divided with older people concentrated in richer countries and youth in developing countries. Never again is there likely to be such potential for economic and social progress.3 In Greece, this young cohort represents over 30 percent4 of the refugees and migrants stranded there. Navigating a critical and consequential phase of their lives,these young women and men demonstrate immense potential to contribute positively but their needs are often overlooked. Stressful conditions and the complex policy environment have resulted in a growing sense of uncertainty and concern amongst young refugees and migrants, who are at risk of engaging in negative coping behaviours and losing all sense of hope.