On the occasion of international women’s day, I would like to share a letter from an Afghan ex-English teacher called Darya*. She, her mother, sisters, nephews and nieces had been up to Idomeni by the border with FYR Macedonia but their bus had been turned back, and now they’re back in Athens with no idea what to do next. When she met our Save the Children staff in Greece she said she’d like to write a message down. It turned into a letter from her to anyone who can help.
In the first two months of 2016, more than 140,000 refugees and migrants tried to reach Europe, which is more than ten times as much as the same time last year. 56% of them were women and children. Tens of thousands people are stranded in Greece due to the border closures with FYR Macedonia, and more are arriving every day. Women and children on the road are particularly vulnerable as they face greater violence, abuse and exploitation.
The outcome of the EU-Turkey Summit yesterday does not look promising for women and children fleeing from war and prosecution. As EU member states continue to strengthen requirements for family reunification, more women and children will be forced to undertake the perilous journey to Europe. Over 3,450 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Europe in January 2016, of which 46% were Afghani’s, which would no longer be allowed entry to the EU.
On International Women’s day, we should pay attention to the tens of thousands of women on the road risking their lives to provide a better future for their children. Read Darya’s message here:
We are from Afghanistan. We are refugees. We came here to get to a country to be safe, not to stay here. We are not tourists come here for sightseeing, we want from you and all of European countries and peoples to help us.
We came here in a very worst situation. We pay lots of our money to arrive here because there is not peace and security in Afghanistan. There is no work. No jobs in Afghanistan.
Every day a bomb explode and every day we lost lots of our people they kill and injured. When we came here we all get sick. Our elder mom and children get sick and we are full of problems. Please help us and open the borders thus everyone go to their ways that they want. We lost lots of thing we don’t have anything to go back in Afghanistan.
We need lots of things in here, such as shoes, clothes, soups, shampoo, creams and etc. Toothbrush, toothpaste for everyone.
Everyone confused to children. But how about us? No-one confused to adults and what do we need.
My names is Darya. I have three sisters and my mother. We came here alone in a very bad situation. We faced in a very worst problems in the way because we don’t have any man with us. One of my sisters live in Germany. We want to go there to live there with her because of our loneliness. My mother is very old and she was very sick. I was sick too. So we need your help and wish to help us in any way that you know. Because we are alone we are waiting for your answers. I repeat that. Please help us because we are alone.