In 2015, one million refugees and migrants arrived in Greece to seek safety in Europe. Most of those making the journey were fleeing conflict in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Many refugees sought to cross Greece to reach north European countries. However, when the borders were closed around the Balkans and other countries, thousands of refugees and asylum seekers were stuck in Greece.
Since 2015, the Norwegian Refugee Council has supported the Greek authorities provide refugees and asylum seekers with food and assistance, and children with education. In 2016, with funding from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Norwegian Refugee Council rolled out an urban project in the city of Thessaloniki to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers live in proper accommodation, regain a sense of normality in their lives and adjust to a new life in Greece and Europe. Many of the refugees have made friends through football and other pastimes.
After more than two years assisting refugees in Greece, Norwegian Refugee Council has handed over its activities to organisations focusing on long-term support, offering them the opportunity to further develop their programmes on foundations built by the organisation.
© Norwegian Refugee Council