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   Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Life in Limbo

Athens: Masoud Qahar worked for both NATO and the United Nations as special ops intelligence for years, helping western powers locate the Taliban in his home country of Afghanistan. In 2012, Taliban fighters attacked his home in Kabul, killing his 26-year-old sister in front of his mother, and severely injuring both his father and brother. The message was loud and clear: stop working for western powers or face the consequences. His belief in freedom did not waver, and he never succumbed to the pressure of the Taliban. He continued to work for the west for two more years before increasing threats from the Taliban forced him to flee his country in 2015.

For months, he made the perilous journey, oftentimes on foot, through the harsh winters in the Afghan and Iranian mountains, through to the Turkish border. After many months and thousands of Euros paid to smugglers, he wound up in Greece. The once affluent special ops NATO personnel now lives in a small container, with several other people, in Athens' Eleonas refugee camp. Despite his lauded service to the west, he has been denied asylum on several occasions - from Greece and other NATO members - but refuses to give up hope.

   Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

City Plaza

Volunteers pose for a portrait in this self-organized housing project for homeless refugees in the center of Athens. City Plaza accommodates 400 people, nearly half of which are children. City Plaza is a 7-floor abandoned hotel, which was unused for several years until it was squatted by refugees and activists in late April 2016.

   Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Words of Freedom

 These are the words of Iraqi refugees as drawn on their shared tent outside of Moria refugee camp in the Olive Grove settlement on the Greek island of Lesvos.

   Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

In Search of Home

Ovileya recalls the moment she arrived in Greece, excited for the freedom she expected to enjoy in Europe. As a trans woman, she fled her native Bangladesh due to sexual assault, harassment, and being shunned by her family. Hoping for a better life in Europe, Ovileya arrived to Moria refugee camp only to endure the same torment as before. Having been assaulted and harassed in the camp where she lived for 8 months in 2017, she was finally granted asylum and lives in the Greek town of Mytilini with her boyfriend. In the two years since arriving in Europe she has learned English and continues to push forward and carve out a life of freedom and respect for herself

   Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Photograph © Kate Schoenbach

Lifejacket Graveyard

Catharsis - Mamoon, an Iraqi refugee, visits the infamous ‘lifejacket graveyard’ on the Greek island of Lesvos. Having come to Lesvos from Turkey in a refugee boat himself, he recounts his experience in a moment of catharsis.