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Locals demand family with autistic child to leave village in NE Greece

Villagers in north-eastern Greece demand the removal of a family from a house they rent claiming their autistic child is “annoying” the neighborhood. The unprecedented case of racism, social exclusion, ignorance and prejudice towards people who are different and in this case suffering form autism was made public by the father of the 16-year-old boy. The issue has triggered an outrage and shocked largest parts of the Greek society.

The father, Evangelos Evangelou wrote that some residents of the village Pigadia by Xanthi had persuaded the home owners to ask the family to leave because the child has autism and “bothers the neighborhood and the coffee house of the village,

Evangelou  moved with his family to Xanthi in 2004 for business reasons while working at Democritus University. At the urging of child psychologists, that in a village the environment would be more favorable for their child – since there is less noise and it is quieter – they decided to stay in Pigadia.

“If we don’t change their mind [houseowners], then we will go according to law and six months after the end of the contract we will leave Pigadia. It is difficult to find another home in the area,” Evangelou told daily ethnos

Stressing that the family has good relations with the majority of the locals, the father said that there are ‘specific individuals causing the problems. Not the whole village is against us.”

He added that “the child has autism” and sometimes is hyperactive.

“Some here are annoyed. I give them partial right because everyone wants their peace. But now they tell you ‘get out of the house’… Also other children gather in the square and shout. What should I tell them? Take your children and leave the village? They are children. You can only make recommendations,” Evangelou said in bitterness.

“The child is hyperactive and has recently done some more damage. And now with the pandemic that schools are not operating and all structures have been closed, there has been no provision for children with disabilities. They have been left it to God’s mercy. The boy has broken some windows in the cafe. We paid for them and replaced them. And 4 windows have been broken in the community office, for which the Municipality did not accept a payment,” the father added.

A few months ago and under pressure by the villagers, the president of the local community visited the school principal obviously on the same issue: to have the family move away from the village because their child is suffering form autism.

The school principal explained to community president that it was better for Thanasis to stay in Pigadia as he has made a lot of progress in recent years and the environment change would be a set back.

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One comment

  1. Das ist unreif und unchristlich! Wohin soll dieser Junge dann gehen??? auf den Mond? … dort leben keine Menschen!