A kaleidoscope of migration

 “Exodus” photo project explores migration in Greece through the realities of the people in transit.

Refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty face immense obstacles on their way to “safe” Europe. Thousands died crossing the Mediterranean sea. Those who survived, live stranded for months, in inhuman conditions, without adequate information or alternatives and with no respect of their rights and dignity.

Vulnerable children and women survive in the margins of Greece, a country torn by the economic crisis. Students, artists, scientists, a huge human capital is now trapped in an orchestrated crisis of global proportions.


Read the article “From the beautiful gate to the end of hope”


Amjad is one of the thousands of young artists who escaped war and fled to Europe hoping to a better day. He stayed at Eko gas station for over 5 months.

Amjad Ramadan, poet. Polycastro, Greece. c: Vicky Markolefa

I am Amjad Ramadan, from Hons Castle in Syria. I want this poem to reach everyone who can see me. This poem is about our homeland and the conditions in which we live in and for our leaders who leave us to live this painful life, the bitter reality. This poem is the simplest way for my thoughts to reach to the people. 

Read Amjad’s poetry > athensvoice.gr

May: Eko gas station and Hara hotel, the remaining two major informal camps in nothern Greece are evacuated.

Thousands of refugees move to nearby facilities, like old factories, most of them isolated and not sufficiently equipted to offer basic services.


Survival at Ellinico camp. Vicky Markolefa

More than 3000 people live at  the old airport, in Elliniko camp. The summer heat makes living unbearable, though its located only a few meters away from the coastline.

In June, children up to 15 years old in Elliniko were vaccinated against ten diseases.


Elliniko camp: Refugee tents just meters away from Elliniko coast line and many of Athens busy beaches. Living conditions here are challenging for the majority of the population.



A message for Mother’s day: Ahin and Amin, in their twenties are waiting at the MSF  clinic in Idomeni transit camp. They are both pregnant and on the road for many months.

“Surviving in Idomeni is so hard. A woman in my condition can’t have proper nutrition. This is the fourth time I am trying to have a baby. I have already lost three.”

Ahin, 22 yrs, Syria.

“Waiting for the miracle in Idomeni” > Read the in.gr article  for Ahin and Amin 


  • Forced movement of thousands of refugees
  • Lack of information
  • Restrictions on humanitarian assistance and press

“I saw you” – read the article on doctv.gr



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A refugee lost his life after an accident in Idomeni transit camp, Greece. Vicky Markolefa

Between 6,000 and 9,000 people, approximately half of whom are children, are stranded Idomeni, following the complete closure of the Balkans route to northern and western Europe in March.Some have been there for over three months. All are vulnerable to violence at the hands of the border police and smugglers who are now almost their only option to reach their family members elsewhere in Europe. 

On 10 April, after the violent events at the border between Greece and FYROM, hundreds were injured, including around 40 people injured by rubber bullets. At least ten people have reported that they were beaten by FYROM police.


More than 15.000 people live in Idomeni’s fields.

This is one of the coldest places in Greece, so even when you have a mild weather like today, in the night humidity is quite high. So people live out in tents and they will try to warm themselves with whatever they can find, so they burn plastic they burn clothes, they burn several things. Our health promotion teams informed them that this is not good for their health, that they should use only wood, but still, they keep on doing it because they have children who are freezing, so it’s normal for a parent to do whatever they can to keep their children warm.

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Food distribution lines reach 200 meters long as breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner is distributed by volunteers and NGOs. In front of the main distribution point of the transit camp, hundreds of men, women and children wait in patience for hours, day after day.

“We survived war but you make me wish I didn’t”

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Hussam writes a new message everyday, stands at the rail lines and protests for the opening of the borders. This 25 year old law student from Syria has been in the camp for more than 3 weeks.

Living conditions in the transit camp are inhuman, despite the efforts of local volunteer groups and NGO staff. Over 50% of the population is families, women and children, refugees coming from Syria and Iraq.

Thousands wait here for over 4 weeks, exposed to the rainy weather and the hardship of living with nothing, inside a small tent, in a muddy field in the middle of nowhere.

During a peaceful demonstration in the camp, a smll group attempted to break through the Greek police line and take down the fence at the FYROM border. The FYROM authorities answered with teargas as the razorwire was finally cut.

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A boy welcomes another train in Idomeni “check point”.

Over 100 people were waiting inside the IOM tent, families and people with disabilities. Over 20 were treated for shock and minor injuries in the clinics in the camp.

As rains go on for days, the harsh weather takes its toll. Many suffer from fever and respiratory tract infections. Camp psychologists deal with increasing stress and depression. Local workers confirm that most health issues are caused by the hardship of the journey and by the prolonged stay in insufficient reception facilities. Despite the construction of new camps in Nea Kavala, Herso and other areas, people reach Idomeni daily with any means they can find.

For months constant changes were applied to border controls, allowing less and less refugees to cross into FYROM, even when their papers where according to standards.

March was marked by the EU-Turkey deal. The new agreement is a mere violation of the Geneva Convention and is expected to result in a humanitarian domino. Several humanitarian actors reacted by stopping activities inside hotspots.

The slow evacuation of Idomeni started in the last weekend of March. Only a few people are being transferred daily.

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Thousands wait here for weeks, exposed to the rainy cold weather and the hardship of living with nothing, inside a small tent, in a muddy field in the middle of nowhere.



Read the story “ON THE WAY TO IDOMENI” > Protagon.gr

The Eko gas station in Polycastro is shelter for many families who spent the night in buses or in tents. Temperatures in this area are often below zero and everynight fires are lit to keep the people warm.

Women and children are the majority of the people waiting in Idomeni transit camp to cross the border with FYROM. More than 1200 people find shelter and access basic facilities. Lately the camp is overwhelmed and a new fence is being constructed.



“Rescue aftermath” Life jackets at Skala Sykamias, one of the main arrival points for migrants and refugeees in Lesvos island, Greece. In January 2016, 257 people lost their lives in the Aegean. –  Vicky Markolefa

“A difficult course to Europe” – Read the full article on news247.gr

January 2016 has been the deadliest month since the passage begun.


|A message for you| Two brothers from Afganistan in Moria refugee camp, Lesvos, Greece. 2016 © Vicky Markolefa
Exodus: A kaleidoscope of migration

Lesvos: In Moria camp, living conditions worsen with every drop. Some may have to wait for many days for the registration process to complete.


Idomeni: The end of logic. – Read the article on news247.gr

In Leros port, an old municipal building is used for shelter as the heated tents are not enough for all. Two boats arrive from Agathonisi everyday.



Exodus: A kaleidoscope of migration.

© Vicky Markolefa


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