Refugees in Greece Work Together to Build New Communities

  • Nearly one-in-ten of the 60,000 refugees in Greece do not live in government camps or NGO shelters.
  • Instead they live in squats such as abandoned schools which typically operate under the protection of the anarchist movement.
  • The refugees, hailing from countries like Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond, are creating their own community centers in Athens.
  • Jafra is the first relief organisation in Greece formed exclusively by refugees to help other refugees.
  • Among its initiatives is a series of dance lessons for refugee children to connect with their culture.
  • Most Jafra members are women, who have organised a knitting room. They sell clothes for a small income, while other members work as laborers or plumbers.
  • Refugees of all backgrounds make a point of working together, putting aside differences as a first step towards their hopeful European integration.

“They came from war, by smugglers to the sea. We believe that the refugees have a lot of experience. They can organiZe [community activities] by themselves. We wanted to change the image of refugees.”

-Housam Jackl, Jafra spokesperson.

Feature photo by ekathimerini.

Author: Nicholas Efthimiadis

Seattle grown. Avid skier and occasional ski racer. Passionate about all things urban (particularly transportation & housing). University of Washington 2016 graduate: BA in Economics and a minor in Urban Design and Planning. Extensive experience in fictitious cartography and sand-city molding.

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