Recently, the students at Anatolia have been practicing for a charity performance to benefit the Syrian refugees that have been arriving in Greece over the past few months. The performance is open to everyone in Anatolia’s surrounding community and has a small admission fee. The performance is a short play that describes the difficult life in Syria. It explores why there are so many people choosing to leave their homes and what they hope to find in Greece and other parts of Europe. The play was written and organized by a group of teachers at Anatolia and it is spoken in both Greek and English.
I was very interested to learn about this performance. At first, I found it surprising that such young students would be speaking about a topic that is not only a difficult subject to begin with, but one that is highly political as well. The teachers I am working with explained to me that most of the students are very well aware of the refugee crisis, as it is constantly in the news and a hot topic among Greek people as well. Instead of keeping the students in the dark, they felt it was important they are well informed about what was going on in their home country, especially because more and more refugee camps are currently opening in Thessaloniki. Since the issue is highly political, they explained the play simply tells a story that describes the current situation, and does not make any political statements regarding whether or not Greece should be letting in so many refugees.
I was very touched the teachers went out of their way to not only educate their students, but to do something that benefited the thousands of refugees that are currently in need. However, I still had a few questions about Greece’s involvement in the refugee crisis considering Greece is in an economical crisis at the moment as well. The teachers explained to me that Greek people have a very strong sense of community and can also relate to the situation of the refugees. They told me it was not that long ago that the Greek were under the reign of the Ottoman Empire and were refugees themselves. Even though the Greek people are struggling at the moment, they are doing as much as they can to help the Syrian refugees.
Unfortunately, I was unable to see the play myself, but I was blown away by the charitable efforts of the students and staff at Anatolia. This particular situation showed me that the teachers at this school are devoted to educating their students in all aspects of life, not just the given school curriculum. Knowledge of current events encourage critical thinking and teaches empathy, two skills that are extremely important not just to have in school, but in life as well.