Afghan adolescents hunger-strike for better conditions at Konitsa, Epirus care center
Posted by clandestina on 15 May 2009
This is a rough translation of a Rizospastis article.
Αround 30 teenagers from Afghanistan, aged 15 to 18 years, who have been residing for approximately 6 months at the « Childhood Care Center » in Konitsa, Prefecture of Ioannina, have began since two days a hunger strike, demanding better living conditions. The Afghan adolescents, who are victims of imperialist wars and the stealing of the national wealth of their country met Members of the Greek Communist Party and in “broken” Greek and English described their problems with food and sleep.
Moreover, for 6 months now, they do not know what to do, how to creatively and constructively spend their time, where to channel their energy. «We do not even have a football », they said. The only enjoyment available is television, while it is not uncommon 6 and 7 people to be squeezed in one single room. Their prime request is to learn English, the teaching of which is only one hour per week, causing them serious problems in their communication with their social environment.
The hunger-strikers also want to be assisted financially , since they are not given even this modest allowance of 1.3 euros per day foresenn. The concern and uncertainty about their fate is also evident, since the overwhelming majority of applications for political asylum are rejected. Together with the fact that the economic resources of the children and their families have been wiped out because of the war in their homeland, all these factors call for substantial public attention and concern.
Their thirst for knowledge, their right to comprehensive education and a better life cannot be met with a few hours of woodwork and silver-jewelry workshops . This is the reality, despite the fact that, as the president of the Institution said, there is a total of 16 employees and 3 “STAGE”[EU funded employment program] working there, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, which through the European Refugee Fund has been channeling funds for the operation of such structures with the participation of Non-Governmental Organizations as well.