Migrant children get a break at play center Children watch a movie at a refugee camp near the northern Greek village of Idomeni near to southern Macedonia, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Migrant children get a break at play center
Lexile

Thousands of refugees wait long hours to cross the Greece-Macedonia border, hoping to head to more prosperous northern European countries. While they wait, the youngest look for something to pass the time.
 
Charities have set up a children's play center, operational 24 hours a day, in the Idomeni, Greece camp. Children can watch cartoons or draw while their parents wait for their family's turn to cross the border.
 
"We try to occupy the children, care for infants and also identify unaccompanied minors so efforts can begin to reunite them with their families," said Alexis Vrahnos.  She is a local coordinator of the Arsis charity that set up the play center in cooperation with Save the Children and Terre Des Hommes.
 
The play center is staffed round the clock by a psychologist, a teacher, two interpreters and a nurse.
 
Sitting at one table is 5-year-old Alman from Kobani, Syria, along with his two brothers. He proudly holds up the picture he's been drawing.
 
"It's a child walking on water," he tells a visiting reporter.
 
His father Mahmoud says the family traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos from the nearby Turkish coast.  It is a short but perilous journey that has cost many lives as overcrowded dinghies or wooden boats capsize or sink.
 
"We had a difficult journey in the sea until we reached Mytilene," he says, referring to the island's capital. "The children were all wearing life jackets.  But what they lived through was terrifying. Thankfully they will quickly forget it."
 
He didn't want to give a surname for fear of persecution of relatives back home.
 
Two sisters from the Syrian city of Hama, 4-year-old Sofia and her 3-year-old sister Lilas, as well as their three cousins, sit at the next table. Sofia draws a picture of flowers.
 
"When she sees many people, she gets very scared," said her father Mohamed Kheer. "The boys usually draw guns," he says of his three nephews. "The girls draw houses and flowers."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is it important to provide a diversion for these kids?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (11)
  • sofiat-4-bar
    11/12/2015 - 07:48 p.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these kids because they are going through a tough time and need to be able to act like kids and when they are traveling they have to act older than they are to make it easier for their families. Aswell as keeping them occupied before they cross the border.

  • brianag-6-bar
    11/12/2015 - 11:20 p.m.

    It is important for these kids to be exposed so that they don't feel like they are all alone in the world and that there is other kids like them. This is an example of the children being exposed to the other children like them,"We try to occupy the children, care for infants and also identify unaccompanied minors so efforts can begin to reunite them with their families." I chose this article because I wanted to learn more about what had happened to these migrant chilren.

  • angelad-6-bar
    11/12/2015 - 11:59 p.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these kid so " also identify unaccompanied minors so efforts can begin to reunite them with their families," but also to create a distraction from the difficult situation the children are facing. From the drawing the children create you can see what they have experienced and what they hope for, children draw guns signifying the violence they have seen with these deadly weapons. The children also draw houses, their dream of one day find a home a safe and sound home. I found this article surprising because when you think of all these migrates crossing borders you think that all effort would be put into getting them across faster not creating an environment to distract children.

  • ericw-6-bar
    11/13/2015 - 12:37 a.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these kids because this may be a stressful process that should not have to leave a weight on these young children. Many people do not think of helping these kids and think of the general process but kids may not understand things beyond their capable power to change.

  • jacks-6-bar
    11/13/2015 - 01:26 a.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these children because, like the article stated, they went through a perilous journey. Migrant Mahmoud says "We had a difficult journey in the sea until we reached Mytilene." "The children were all wearing life jackets. But what they lived through was terrifying. Thankfully they will quickly forget it." To help the children forget the horrific experiences at sea to escape poverty, a diversion, or setting kids' minds another topic (in this case play) instead of what they've been put through is a great aid. Their cheerful play after their harsh journey helps them focus on the road ahead, inspiring them to look forward and to keep to their entertainment, eventually forgetting the bad times, not to be traumatized by it all their lives. That is why a diversion from their migration is crucial. The article was heartbreaking, seeing how children so young have to go on harsh journeys that are so unforgiving that they need a diversion of play to recover, forget, and move on. It's hard to believe.

  • noahf-3-bar
    11/13/2015 - 02:17 a.m.

    It is important to provide a diversion for these kids as one father said, "what they lived through was terrifying. Thankfully they will quickly forget it." this shows that it is important to provide a diversion for these kids because it helps them forget the tragedy they lived through. I thought this article was very insightful into the lives of what refugees have to go through after they flee their home countries.

  • justiny-2-bar
    11/13/2015 - 09:47 a.m.

    It is important for a diversion for these kids so they forget what they saw in their home country. As stated in the article many lives were lost on the journey to Greece. If the kids had witnessed all the people die at sea they might be scarred for life. The activities they do might help them forget. I found it interesting that they set up charities for children to have fun.

  • daisyh-mcd
    11/16/2015 - 04:34 p.m.

    The children would get bored and sad without something to do so it is important the are entertained while on a trip that could potentially be very scary.

  • lucasl-3-bar
    11/18/2015 - 05:27 p.m.

    It is necessary to provide a diversion for these children because, like the article stated, they went through a perilous journey. Migrant Mahmoud says "We had a difficult journey in the sea until we reached Mytilene." "The children were all wearing life jackets. But what they lived through was terrifying. Thankfully they will quickly forget it." To help the children forget the horrific experiences at sea to escape poverty, a diversion, or setting kids' minds another topic (in this case play) instead of what they've been put through is a great aid. Their cheerful play after their harsh journey helps them focus on the road ahead, inspiring them to look forward and to keep to their entertainment, eventually forgetting the bad times, not to be traumatized by it all their lives. That is why a diversion from their migration is crucial. The article was heartbreaking, seeing how children so young have to go on harsh journeys that are so unforgiving that they need a diversion of play to recover, forget, and move on. It was very interesting

  • alexanderc-6-bar
    11/18/2015 - 06:37 p.m.

    It is important for these kids to be exposed so that they don't feel like they are all alone in the world and that there is other kids like them. This is an example of the children being exposed to the other children like them,"We try to occupy the children, care for infants and also identify unaccompanied minors so efforts can begin to reunite them with their families." I chose this article because I wanted to learn more about what had happened to these migrant chilren.

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