“We are used to a life full of changes, especially during the last two years,” said Hawa from Afghanistan who arrived in Greece on February 2019 after leaving her home city Herat, along with her husband Ahmad and their two children Wahed (11) and Milad (4).  

“Our journey lasted 7 months and from Turkey we crossed to Lesvos. We stayed in Moria for almost one year and a half. September’s fire was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life,” she admitted while looking back at those difficult days. 

“When the fire started, we were sleeping in a big rub hall tent with other families. I woke up and I saw the fire, I smelled it. Small explosions were taking place everywhere. I thought that my hearing would be seriously affected. My body was trembling, and we were all very afraid,” she continued.  

“Due to the limited space we had in our tent, all our clothes, all our stuff were already packed in bags. I was ready to go. My only option was to follow the crowd to get outside of the camp and escape the fire”. 

IOM met Hawa and her family in a temporary accommodation facility in Athens while they awaited their relocation to Germany.  

“Before and after the fire in Moria we felt desperate. We did not feel safe,” Hawa explained. Looking forward to her family’s new beginning in Germany, she expressed optimism and hope. 

“Today, here, we are feeling human again. We are allowed to have options and chances for us and for our children. I can say that our life has started again,” she said.   

Ahmad, Hawa’s husband, recalls their dire situation the day after the fire at Moria left them without shelter. “We were alone in the streets of Lesvos. We felt hopeless,” he said.  

“Back in Afghanistan I was working as a farmer. Going somewhere peaceful is a one-way street for us. We want to raise our children in an environment of safety and hope,” he continued, while hugging his son, little Milad. 

“I must admit that I do not know what to feel right now. Mixed feelings probably? We are standing ahead of a new beginning and new doors are opening, but at the same time it is something unknown for us. But we will try to do our best for us and for our children,” said Hawa. 

“I want to share my best wishes for the people that are in Greece. Some of them are vulnerable, have disabilities and serious health problems,” she said.  

Hawa, Ahmad, Wahed and Milad were relocated in Germany in October, as asylum seekers under the EU-funded Relocation project. This year, 1,013 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece to other European states, while the total sum of relocations including refugees and unaccompanied children is 1,622 people. 

The Relocation programme is funded by the European Commission (DG HOME), it is led by the Government of Greece, through the Special Secretary for Unaccompanied Minors and the General Secretary or Migration Policy with participating EU member states and is coordinated by the European Commission. IOM is working closely with UN partners, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support all aspects of the relocation process in close cooperation with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and other partners