Students, parents, teachers and neighbors gathered at the 15th Elementary School of Nikaia near Piraeus on Tuesday to welcome 38 children from a nearby refugee and migrant camp on their first day of classes.
The children were applauded and given balloons as they entered the school grounds, according to a report by Lifo, in what was a much warmer welcome than other refugee children have received at some Greek public schools.
“The working-class neighborhoods of Nikaia, Kertsini and Perama know what it means to be a refugee and to struggle,” an announcement by the Movement Against Racism, which organized the welcome party, was quoted by Lifo as saying. “Like the vast majority of our compatriots who them with joy, we open our arms to the refugee children coming to schools in our area.”
The children were enrolled in the school as part of a government initiative to help school-age refugees and migrants staying at camps receive an education.
The move has been welcomed by most of the country’s schools, though there have been pockets of reaction, most recently at a school in Perama where officials and supporters of far-right Golden Dawn assaulted teachers and parents backing the initiative.