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A story with an unusually happy ending

He lives in Athens, works in a five-star hotel in the city center, rents his own apartment, hangs out with friends, and has hobbies he enjoys.

Mo’s situation seems entirely unremarkable until you learn how tragically rare this outcome can be for people from backgrounds like his. Mo was born 4,000 kilometers away, in Afghanistan, and at the age of 15, he was forced to flee his homeland. Separated from his family, he sought a better life in Greece.

In 2018, instead of finding that better life, he found himself at the Moria Refugee Camp on the island of Lesvos. Shortly afterwards, he was told that his asylum application had been denied. In order to make ends meet, he started picking oranges, but the working conditions, like his pay, were extremely poor. In 2021, he was once again forced to leave, this time for Athens. Mo found himself in a vast new city with no connections, no shelter, no food, and no access to any relevant government services.

A year later, he happened to cross paths with the nonprofit Mazí Housing Project, and, for the first time in a long while, he had a safe place to live, hot meals, and hope that life might in fact get better.

In the meantime, as a result of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the asylum process for Afghans had been revised, and he was able to reapply for asylum. Until he was granted asylum, and without papers, he had two choices, either to work in construction or to learn Greek. This was by no means an easy decision. If he chose to work, he could earn some money to send back to his family.

Eventually, he decided to learn Greek and English and, in collaboration with social workers from Mazí, he built out his CV, applied for a job, had his asylum application approved and, with proper preparation, landed a good job. You know the rest of the story.

There are countless stories that start like Mo’s. Stories of uprooting, expatriation, loneliness, exploitation, and despair. And that is why Mazí is here, to offer shelter and hands-on assistance to male refugees and migrants experiencing homelessness in Athens with our support. To offer a happy ending—that is, a new beginning.