The last refugees left the camp Vinojug, Gevgelija

On March 7, 2016, at 12:30 o’clock, in the camp Vinojug, Gevgelija left the train carrying around 400 refugees from Syria and Iraq. We couldn’t even presume that that will be the last time these suffering people can move in Macedonia. Europe decided to close the Humanitarian hallway, i.e., the Balkan route. That day, around 1400 refugees were stranded in Macedonia. Around 800 Afghanis, to whom Europe closed its doors from February 2016, and all the other refugees from Syria and Iraq who of bureaucratic and vague reasons were returned to Macedonia from Croatia and Slovenia.  And the train with 400 refugees wrapped up the number of 1500 stranded lives in Macedonia’s northern border camp Tabanovce.

Divided in the two camps, one in the north and the other in the south, they stayed waiting for the day when the borders will be reopened.

The moment when one year marks of their stay in Macedonia, the refugees that were placed in the camp of Gevgelija, decided to return in Greece and to try through the mechanisms of the EU system to reach their family and friends in the countries of Western Europe.

Today 12.03.2017, in the camp of Gevgelija, Vinojug, that had over 150 refugees that lived there, now there are only 8 left.

The camp is empty, the dreams of the opening of the borders became unrealized, the children deprived from the education system, the refugees deprived from the freedom of movement. But still, every family, every refugee left with tears. For a whole year the activists and the volunteers in the camp shared moments with them. Impatiently we waited for the birth of the new baby and brother of Sham. We enjoyed the cooking of Ahmed, we discussed politics with Ibrahim and uncle Nuri, we watched the new drawings of the artist Shergo and we encouraged his wife to start drawing. With Avin, we could spend hours of talking and laughing…

Every one of them is a story in itself, every day with them became a part of us! We as well shared their hopes that the borders will open; we as well grieved for the wired fence that encircled us!

Today, when there are only 8 left, we are still with them, pleased that we endured till the very end to alleviate their stay in Macedonia, content that we often shared smiles with them and distended their thoughts from the cruel reality.

We will stay here until the last refugee remains in Macedonia, we remain to be their voice, to acquaint our public with their stories and pray they’ll reach the countries that they dream of.