This Is What Life Is Like For Refugee Mothers Living In Greece

Photographed by Myrto Papadopoulos/Redux.
The United Nations' Refugee Agency forecast that almost 1.2 million refugeeshalf of whom are children — would need to be resettled in 2017. And now that President Trump has said he intends to sign an executive order banning refugees from Syria and six other countries from entering the U.S., the worldwide refugee crisis seems likely to get worse.
Photographer Myrto Papadopoulos has been following this issue since 2010. Her project Breaking Waters focuses on refugee women in Greece who became pregnant during their flight from war, or who gave birth in Syria, Greece, or Turkey under incredibly difficult circumstances.

"It is clear that women fleeing Syria and other conflict-ridden lands are so desperate that being pregnant, even heavily pregnant, is not holding them back from going through this journey in search of a better life," she told Refinery29.

Papadopoulos hopes her project will not only shed light on the fact that these families live in precarious circumstances, but also that for many children born "in transit" there are many legal questions. "These are kids without a passport, or born without a birth certificate," she said.

In some cases, countries don't let women pass their nationalities on to their children, which presents a huge issue if the fathers are out of the picture. As a photographer who focuses on women's issues, and in an age when anti-refugee sentiment appears to be spreading, it's important for Papadopoulos to humanize her subjects and share their stories.

"Refugee women who are pregnant or caring for infant children are rightly regarded by the UNHCR and international organisations as one the most vulnerable groups among those fleeing conflicts," she said. "Yet when seen through the prism of reactionary nationalist rhetoric and its fear of an 'invasion' of outsiders these mothers and their children can also be seen as threats and are thus at risk of further victimisation and marginalization."

Ahead, a look at the mothers and children living in some of Greece's refugee camps.

Refinery29 is committed to covering the women behind the headlines of the refugee crisis. Read the full multimedia feature, "Behind the Headlines: Daughters of Paradise," here. More coverage on the human faces of the world's refugee crisis can be found here.

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