“There Are Good Separations As Well”

by Evripidis Michail, Education Officer in SolidarityNow

During a parents’ meeting held some weeks ago at the Intercultural Gymnasium of Thessaloniki, Evripidis Michail, Education Officer in SolidarityNow, felt like to write about the relationships created between teachers and pupils, as well between teachers and parents. A text written from the heart and dedicated to all those involved in the challenges and the beauty of the educational process.


We come to a world that constantly changes fast and suddenly. Changes -small or large- affect our emotional world. Given this constant change –provoked by our own decisions or by fate- we feel ambivalent but at the same time emotions that run high, like anger and joy, sadness and happiness, pain and relief.

Changes could fill the pages of an empty book. If someone opened it and looked at its contents, his gaze would be immediately caught in the chapter “Human Relations” and the sub-chapter “Separation”. And then we would only feel pain. So, the question is: Is there a good separation?

The contact with refugee and migrant children and their parents, who travel together or alone until they anchor their hopes and dreams in a new home, has shown us that being separated from home, family, friends and all the things that provide us security, as well as the loss of childhood, leaves us indelible scars. Separation as a sentiment is intensified throughout the journey, only in the end you understand that it’s difficult to get over it. This feeling will also be experienced by those who will extend their hand for support and those who develop relationships of trust with them. Sooner or later, all who work in the field will experience the feeling of separation because people always leave.

Moments full of embarrassment, tight hugs, tears in the eyes, words of gratitude and silence and a wish “until the next time”. But you know- this sorrow is instantaneous. Nothing can be compared to what is left behind by this relationship, which in combination with the idea of giving, make you fill complete. Their life stories taught you valuable life lessons. They took traveled you away, to other cultures, other civilizations. They have taught you that love does not need any common language to be expressed, it just needs a hand in the heart and a gaze. They gave you the opportunity to feel the greatest satisfaction, helping them to dream again. You are blessed, because you are the “student of this school” and if you think you had more to give, think this: you have managed to give them the blue, they will now have the opportunity with the next one to learn the red and with the next one the yellow and so on. This is the only way for someone to become colorful and at the end will look like a Frida Kahlo’s painting.

There is a good separation, if it is accompanied by dream fulfillment and optimism.

And as a refugee father said, “human relationships are not aware of borders. If the doors of the heart open, they will always be open waiting for you”.

So, it does not matter where the roulette ball will stand, but the bet you put before the ball spins. If you bet on optimism and giving, you are the real winner.  

* Following a proposal by the Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki, SolidarityNow unites its forces with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the YMCA to create a program for the education of refugee children in the center of Thessaloniki. The project «Dia-Drasis» is funded by Open Society Foundations.