With the continuing cycle of one bailout after another, the youth in Greece is being hit harder than ever. School aged children might be too young to work and feel the effects of the shrinking and practically nonexistent job market in Greece, but they are well aware of its existence.
They witness their parents struggling to out food on the table and keep the electricity from being shut off as well as the social upheaval of events constantly taking place around them in these times of the “Greek crisis.” “A few years ago, most of the kids wanted to study and be doctors or lawyers or physicists or whatever. Now they just want to study and go abroad. They want to offer to their country, but they know there’s no place to be here,” says teacher Kosmas Lazaridis in an interview with marketplace.org.
One student explained that his mother works 30 hours a week in a supermarket and earns just €350 per month. His father, a bus driver, used to make more than €1,000 a month, but since the slashing of wages dictated by the EU and IMF he now makes less than €600 per month. The solution for many students is to do well in school and try to seek employment abroad, maybe returning to Greece in 2030 when it is predicted that the crisis might be nearing an end.
The bailouts are affecting more than just the students’ dreams. The teachers are also dealing with financial stress due to their salaries being cut drastically. Speaking of the affects the bailouts have on educators, teacher Antouanetta Giontameli commented in the same interview that her family is not in the typical situation of most families in Greece.”We are two people, we both have jobs… we can buy milk or food or a good meat, let’s say, once per week… But we don’t have our own house, we cannot even imagine to have our own house. And of course if a baby comes, it would be really difficult for us,” explained Giontameli. To put it into perspective, in private schools teachers have seen their wages cut from as much as €16,000 to €6,000 in one years time. Complicating the matters more is that every year teachers are “laid off” for the summer months, forcing them to collect unemployment which is only a fraction of their monthly wages.