The conflict in Syria has led to the dispersion of more than 5 million refugees from the country, according to UN estimates. Most of these refugees now reside in neighbouring countries, such as Turkey, Jordan and Greece.
There are a number of refugee camps established in Greece, mainly for Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted in a report that more than 60,000 refugees live in refugee camps and other such facilities across Greece. One of the camps dedicated to accommodating these refugees is the Skaramagas camp, located in the north of Athens.
A Syrian musician inside the camp, Mohammad Arnaout, has begun an initiative to take the youth out of the daily slumber and to get their creative juices flowing. With the support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which cooperates with the EU and the Greek government to manage the camp, some of the young people have been provided with ouds (Middle Eastern-style guitar).
Mohammad now makes the most of his talent and offers music lessons for three days a week in the camp. He laments the detrimental effect that the war has had on art and music among the Syrian people and hopes that one day they will return to their country and once again enjoy their musical heritage.
Most refugees in this camp are simply waiting to be told their fate with regards to their applications to emigrate to other countries. The young people are simply letting their days pass by as they have been out of school for months or years. Initiatives such as that of Mohammad Arnaout allow these young people in the camps to make the most of the time that they have. There are others who also provide language and other types of lessons in an attempt to substitute the schools from which these young people have been forced to escape.