“I can watch my kids grow up”
“My name is Mohsan and I am 42 years old. I came to Greece in December 2016 along with my wife Zouhor and our five children. We have been living in Tilos since January. In Syria, I was in the military.”
“In the beginning, it was difficult”, Mohsan says, because “we didn’t know what life was like in Greece, but now we are slowly discovering it. The SolidarityNow team and the locals have helped us so much.”
They knew some English, and now they have learned much more, even though they are attending classes to learn the Greek language. “We didn’t know any Greek before, now we know some. We also didn’t know anyone here before, but now we greet everyone whenever we see them. All the locals respect us, and they are all good people. No friendships have developed between us yet, but I’d really like to have Greek friends!”
Mohsan’s wife, Zouhor, has been working at a hotel for the past few months. “In the military, I was not able to have contact with a lot of people. It was very difficult for me to talk to everyone. When we arrived here, I began to open up and change. That is why we were able to tell them that we had no problem with Zouhor working. She may be tiring herself out now, but she is working towards our future. She left the structure and saw what is happening in the world, and she is very pleased she did so”, Mohsan admits.
He also talks to us about the changes in their lives that happened gradually. “I stay with the kids. Our roles as parents changed a bit, but I don’t mind at all. When we were in Syria, I would only see my kids for two hours- if I saw them at all- on account of my job. Now, they are fonder of me than they are their mother! However, I don’t know how to cook, but I’d like to learn. When you do something, it has to come from inside of you, you have to want to do it. Before, I would sometimes help out with the chores around the house, now, I do them all. My wife works from the morning until the afternoon. When she returns, she is exhausted, and so I want to help her out.”
Today, Mohsan is happy to have more time to spend with his children. “Since we arrived in Tilos, I have been able to see my children. I can watch my kids grow up and I can be there from the start. When my wife and I got married, I only took one day off work, and it was the day of the wedding, because that’s all they would give us. My life revolved around my work. But that’s all in the past. The only thing I want now is for my children to go to school and to be happy. I want to stay in Greece, simply because there is the chance for a better life for my children.”
Mohsan Barak is a beneficiary of the Hosting Scheme project of SolidarityNow, and he lives at the structure on the island of Tilos.
*The Hosting and Accommodation Programs, are developed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO).
The Refugee Accommodation shelter was created in 2015 by SolidarityNow, in collaboration with the Municipality of Tilos and stood out as an example of a local project through which the local community welcomed the refugees, supporting the smooth integration of those who would remain on the island. The operation of the shelter concerns the provision of accommodation to 50 beneficiaries and has hosted 100 people so far. Watch the BBC tribute to the Tilos program: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-40586229/the-greek-island-where-syrian-refugees-are-welcome.