Syrian refugee children living in refugee camps around Greece, live among strays too. They all have their own way of dealing with them, some are more friendly, some more cautious, and some just indifferent I guess.
My Malua came from one of those camps. Of all the stray dogs living in the military camp near the refugee settlement, Malua was the friendliest. I remember the day I went to pick her up – three little Afghan girls escorted her, and I named her after one of them.
The Penny Marathon drawing competition is one of the charity’s awesome initiatives. Kids from around the world are asked to join in, with a drawing that brings a message of awareness for the stray companion animals. The winning drawing gets to be printed on the yearly Penny Marathon T shirts.
Schools participate too, which is awesome. My students from the language school also participated this year, and the girls enjoyed it so much! Every child that participates, whether the drawing wins or not, receives a Penny Marathon certificate.
Fauzy, the Syrian boy who won third place this year lives in a refugee camp near Thessaloniki. His teacher, Christina Lousta says: “At the camp there are many stray dogs and I had noticed that not all of the children treat the strays in the same way. While many are friendly and play with the strays, others are more cautious and fearful of them”.
This year, 15 children from her class participated in the competition, and Fauzy won third place. Greek actress Joyce Evidi, who is an active spokesperson for animals in need, was the judge this year and said that Fauzy’s cat “spoke to her soul”. Fauzy was presented with his award at school and posed for photos with his mother, Fikrat.
Maybe it doesn’t look like a big thing, but in a way it is, at least for Fauzy and for all the kids like him. And as the Penny Marathon puts it, teachers like Christina Lousta make the world a better place, with their inspiration, passion, patience and compassion.
Follow the Penny Marathon’s Facebook page and find out how to participate for next year’s competition!