Khaled Alazzo’s family
“Do you know where I’d really like to be relocated? To Cyprus!” Khaled says, eyes sparkling. “The climate is nice, the place is beautiful, but do you know what the most important thing to me is? That every morning I will take a deep breath and smell the fragrance of my beloved Syria, on the other side of the sea”.
Khaled, a 32-year-old builder from Hama, Syria, arrived on the island of Chios on March 2016, along with his wife Hyam and their children, Suleiman, Amina and Hamzeh. After spending a month in the makeshift camp of Piraeus port, they were sent to Agios Andreas camp, northeast of Athens.
We meet the family at Marathon Beach Resort on an unusually busy day: IOM staff are here to distribute winter clothing and shoes. The hotel, in a sleepy coastal town not far from Athens, is the place that about 100 refugees call home for more than a month now, while construction work is being done at the near-by Agios Andreas camp. Khaled, although he’s the last in line to receive the winter gear, doesn’t mind: he explains that his family has a lot to be thankful, so far. During their stay at the camp the family encountered some urgent medical issues. “We are thankful for all the help we received from IOM staff at the time, although it was a really stressful period. They have been there for us, they assisted us with the hospital, the medication, everything”, says Khaled. Also, three months ago, Hyam gave birth to their 4th child, Malak. IOM staff assisted her during her pregnancy, as well.
And how’s life at the hotel? “After living in a tent for so long, it’s really nice and comfortable”, Khaled says as his children play all around the small but cosy room. Soon, the discussion leads us to the future plans of the family, who have already started the relocation procedures. “My brother-in-law is already in Germany and my sister has applied for the family reunification programme. So, we would like to be all together. If not, then it’s definitely Cyprus that I’d choose!”
Through the EU Relocation Programme, the International Organization for Migration in Greece (IOM) supports the Government of Greece in relocating with safety and dignity asylum seekers to other EU Member States of Relocation (MSR). The Programme is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (AMIF).