A life beyond camps for refugees in Greece. Emergency Response To Integration & Accommodation (ESTIA) programme.
We risked our lives through the sea, all this in the name of a better life for my children," says Asad Bairam, a refugee from Syria. His voice is just one of the thousands of refugees who have similar stories, who have found themselves in Greece.
Greece has been a frontline receiver of people fleeing their war-torn countries, the sheer number of which has placed a great strain on the country's resources. Since the beginning of the crisis, living standards in camps have improved drastically; however, the priority has since shifted to helping refugees integrate into Greek society.
The EU together with its humanitarian partner UNHCR and the Greek authorities are working together to provide refugees with a sense of normality through its ESTIA programme (Emergency Support To Integration & Accommodation) which provides refugees with dignified accommodation in the form of rented apartments and monthly cash assistance.
With a roof over his head, living next door to Greek neighbours, cash assistance helps Asad and his family integrate in the local community. Asad can use money credited to a debit card to buy the necessities to cover his family's basic needs; this provides an opportunity for him to interact in Greek society while the money is fed into the local economy.
Interview with George Kaminis, Mayor of Athens
Interview with Antonis Zervos, Mayor of Agios Nikolaos
Interview with Giota Poulou, Mayor of Livadia
Interview with Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki
Interview with Vassilis Labrinos, Mayor of Heraklion
Interview with Dimitris Papastergiou, Mayor of Trikala
Interview with Anastasios Vamvoukas, Mayor of Chania