The Water Project is born in 2016 and its aim is to reach that refugee children lose their fear of sea which is usually associated with the traumatic memory as it has been a very hostile environment for them. Most of the children had never seen the sea before and their first contact with it was at night, in “overcrowded” boats, without knowing how to swim, being cold and wet, seeing how panic covered adult’s faces when the crossing got into serious difficulties or when the sea swallowed any of their family members.
This project seeks to break with routine in the refugee camps taking children out of that place for a while and helping them to lose their fear of sea at the same time using for that purpose games so that they can reconcile with the sea.
The origin of the project
After the European Union had signed an agreement with Turkey in March 2016, the arrivals decreased. That summer we started to pay attention to children´s drawings at the refugee camp in Pipka (Lesbos) and we realised that in their drawings sea was dark, full of corpses, it was a place where they felt frightened and anxious…
Making them feel children again
Last year, Lurna an eleven year old Iraqi child who lost her mother in the crossing, did not want to see the sea and she even cried at the seaside. However, shortly after beginning this project she was able to jump into water doing a somersault from the shoulders of a Proem- Aid volunteer, thus showing that this project is going well.
For this reason, the Water Project keeps going this summer, as when we were back in the island in January, children asked us to take them to the sea so that they could swim. Spain, Spain! When are we going to the beach? They shouted every day.
That’s the “Spain brand” we are proud of.