Greece: Voices from Elliniko


Refugees living in Elliniko Sports Stadium in Athens, Greece, tell their stories in their own words.

Danish, 25, from Kunduz, Afghanistan: “We are not asking for money, just for security.”

"I was volunteering at the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz [Afghanistan]. I was about to be employed when the hospital was bombed in early November. After this event, and many other suicide attacks in the city, I decided to flee with my wife and leave everything behind. Please open the border. Don't you think we deserve to live in a place with peace? We are not asking for money, just for security."

Aziz, 27, from Kabul, Afghanistan: “I want to spend the rest of my life with my sister in Austria.”

"I worked for a French international NGO in Kabul as a guard for six years. [After receiving a threatening letter] I took my wife and kids and just left. Our journey to Greece lasted over a year. I didn’t have the money to pay smugglers to take us across Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey in a matter of weeks. So we stopped a lot, and I worked in potato fields in Iran to make the money to continue our trip. There we were really badly treated and we suffered a lot. In the meantime, my sister left Kabul with her husband. They were able to make it to Austria well before the borders closed. But my sister’s daughter—my nine-year-old old niece—is with us, and we are stuck here. I will never go back to Afghanistan. My goal is to make it to Austria to reunite with my sister. She’s my family and I want to spend the rest of my life with her."


Mohammed, 28, from Kabul: “We are not numbers—we are human beings who need your solidarity.”

"We don’t have any information about what will happen to us. We are lost here and no one cares. We left everything behind. I had a job, I was a tiler, we had a house. But we had no security: we were living in fear in Kabul; suicide attacks were happening every day, everywhere. I paid thousands of dollars to reach Greece and save my family's lives. We want to go to Germany, where my cousin’s wife has lived for 15 years. We are just looking for peace. We are not numbers, we are human beings who need your solidarity."


Mohammad, 25, MSF cultural mediator in Elliniko camp: “They need answers to their questions.”

"One of the main complaints of people in Elliniko is that they don’t have access to any information about the always changing situation. They don’t know if they will have to stay here, if they will be moved to another place and—most importantly—if the European borders will reopen. They need answers to their questions. You can’t imagine how frustrating and worrying it can be living here for months without having any idea of what will happen to you in the immediate future. Another issue is that the asylum services in Greece are almost impossible to access. The authorities have set up a ‘Skype-call policy,’ which is the only way for Afghans to request asylum. But this service is not functioning, and to use it, people need internet access, which not everyone has. People here have the feeling that they count for nothing. They feel terribly discriminated against, compared to other nationalities, which creates a lot of tensions."

Read More About MSF's Work in Elliniko Sports Stadium