Jumping Rope in Moria Camp

In 2018, I volunteered for 2 months in a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece called “Moria”. I worked for an NGO that provided and helped distribute clothes and equipment to refugee families. It was an intense time. I vividly remember reading in our briefings and in the news of 9,000 people living in Moria, an overcrowded refugee camp that only had a capacity for 3,000. While working for this NGO I was told to not take photos of kids showing their face, which I felt was more than valid. We can never fully understand what people have been through or why they left home. Many of the people I met in Lesbos still have family in their home countries and publicizing a person’s image or story in a way that makes them identifiable could put their loved ones at risk. The night I took these photos, was after a late shift helping distribute clothes. These kids shown above, had gotten together and started playing rope with abandoned metal wires. They would laugh and just enjoy playing with each other, with the cold metal wiring with loose electrical ends. These children were about 8-12 years old and they just wanted to play. In the photos above you will see a trash can in a corner and a mother and her children standing in the background observing, all of it taking place in an empty parking lot with dimmed lights.
Now it’s 2020 and the current figures have gone up to 11,000 at the Moria refugee camp. Years later and the news in Moria is still heartbreaking. A fire raged through the camp on September 19th, has left children sleeping on the street with their families. More than 4,000 children, including over 400 unaccompanied children had been living in the camp at the time. Their previous camping arrangement with tents was not very good. This huge prison-like refugee camp holds an internal jail and is divided into sections. At Moria camp, you have to share many bathrooms with thousands of other refugees. Makeshift camps have been spreading outside the camp and rain and storms have caused people to die of hypothermia and illnesses. We are living in a world where a pandemic has spread and affected the whole world, but who decides what happens to the children within this refugee camp in Greece? Jumping rope with frayed wires is one of the few normalcies they have left, and now even that is threatened.

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