The new school in Moria gets a name

‘Today was the first day since I’ve arrived at the camp that I felt really happy’, says the Afghan refugee teaching the children of camp Moria. We look at each other and quickly blink away our tears of emotion. Months of hard work in setting up the school in Moria comes together at this very moment. Today we are having a teambuilding session with ten school teachers in the beautiful nature of Lesbos.

The camp Moria school has been in existence for a few weeks now. When I say ‘school’ you should think of one cabin with two rooms. Each room contains about ten tables and chairs, made by refugees. These past weeks we have scoured the camp for teachers. Currently, we have a team of teachers and still new teachers are applying.

Me, I have only arrived two days ago and count myself lucky for having the immediate chance to participate in this teambuilding session and get to know all the teachers. This way, I can continue building and streamlining the school and transfer it to the new volunteers.

Above all, it’s a fun day. We have prepared several workshops on things like administration and teaching skills. We start the day by introducing ourselves using cards with images on them. Everyone picks a card and then explain why this card is so typical for them. The stories are heartening because everyone tells about their situation filled with positivity and hope. When a teacher tells that today is his 24th birthday we break out into a spontaneous ‘Happy birthday’ for him. Tears come to his eyes. It’s incredible how such a small gesture can generate such emotion.

The workshops progress well. We are impressed with the teaching skills the teachers have. Just about every teacher was a teacher in his or her homeland. I can learn a lot from them. During lunch, we have conversations about all kinds of subjects. At such a moment you really forget being at a table with multiple nationalities, and that these people are refugees who have come from horrible circumstances. It’s my wish that the entire world could see through my eyes what kind of unity we have here today and that we are all people with hopes and dreams.

Together with the teachers we brainstorm and vote on a name for the school. ‘Moria School of Hope’. There are some doubts whether we should put ‘Moria’ in the name, as many refugees have a less pleasant association with the name of this camp. But, as one of the teachers says: ‘Let’s put hope back in Moria.’