Founded by Father Efstratios (known “Papa-Stratis”), who passed away in September 2015, Agkalia is a small local organization on the island of Lesbos. It is based on volunteers and it offers frontline assistance to thousands of refugees irrespective of their origin and religion. It has been providing temporary shelter, food, water and medical aid to people in need, assisting some 17,000 refugees and migrants since May 2015.
The 15th Garden is the first network for food sovereignty for Syria and all its people. It aims to defend food sovereignty in times of war, be it the sieges forced upon it as a weapon of war and which aims to starve people, or be it the transformation of a society that is in danger to become depend on external help in times of war through food aid. 15th Garden strongly stands for the self-determination of the Syrian people in all realms of life. They understand a food and farming system that guarantees the independence of all people of Syria as part of their struggle. The 15th Garden has more over witnessed strong solidarity from the international movement for food sovereignty and therefore stands out as an example for the necessity and the possibility to stand together in this struggle even and especially in difficult times.
Planet Syria is a Syrian-led, grassroots initiative with a network of over 100 non-violent civil society groups inside Syria. Planet Syria is a campaign to engage people around the world in solidarity to stop the violence and extremism in the country. The campaign was named Planet Syria because its people argues that “although we are demanding the same rights that everyone everywhere should have, we are sometimes treated as if we are on a different planet”. The main demands of their campaign are (1) an end to barrel bombs and air strikes, and (2) real peace talks between all Syrian groups and their international backers. Their demands are rooted in a face-to-face survey that they conducted with prominent non-violent activists inside Syria.
Founded in 2014, CILD (Italian Coalition on Civil Liberties) currently includes 32 national civil society organizations working mainly on migrants and refugees, LGBT, prisoners’ rights, drug policy reform, equality and freedom of expression. CILD supports and empowers civil society groups working on some of the most pressing human rights issues faced by the country today, through a combination of media capacity building strategic communication, advocacy and public education. Since its launch the coalition’s work has been focused on 5 strategic priorities:
1.reform of the immigration and asylum law with a particular focus on reception centres and detention
2.tackle discrimination and homophobia by changing the way Italian society and media thinks about LGBT people
3.full inclusion of Roma and Sinti communities into the Italian society by advocating for the closure the segregation camps in Italy
4.reform the excessively punitive drug policy with a particular focus on decriminalization of drug use
5.introduction of a Freedom of Information Act in the Italian legal system
In 2015 it launched The 19 Million Project and the Open Migration platform
By using the topic of food as one of the most fundamental means for cultural exchange, the initiative reaches out to both refugees and the local community, putting the abstract term “asylum” into a new, more positive perspective; they create awareness for the diversity and cultural richness of fellow human beings on an equal footing, giving way to valuable encounters with one another. As a social business the Über den Tellerrand kochen GbR supports the Community of Über den Tellerrand, which is established throughout Germany. They are convinced that their creative, educational and supportive programs, which have a strong cultural connection, are the basis for mutual interest, respect and friendship. They promote an active exchange among refugees and the local population, and they give the opportunity for refugees to build a network of friends, allowing those in the community to develop knowledge of new cultures and traditions.
Good Chance is a temporary theatre in the refugee camp in Calais. We are here to provide a space that is safe, warm and open to everyone. They offer workshops and events across all art forms, and together make theatre for performance. Each day, they welcome hundreds of people of all ages, nationalities and gender. Some come to escape from their situation, some come to confront it. Whatever people come for, expression is a need and a right for everyone. And as situations become more challenging, this need becomes greater. They welcome artists and theatre companies from across the world for week-long residencies or special performances, and are always interested to talk to people who feel they have an idea of how to work with and help people tell their stories through theatre and art.
Today, Lebanon hosts over 1.2 million refugees. About one quarter are women, many of whom yearn to regain the chance to play constructive roles in society and independently support their families. To this end, Basmeh and Zeitooneh established a Women’s Workshop in its Community Centers in Shatila and Burj al Barajneh refugee camps, as well as in the Bekaa Valley, which aims to empower Syrian and Palestinian refugee women who are the sole breadwinner for their families. At this Workshop, women who were once artists can continue to make beautiful embroidered creations, and those with no prior formal work experience can access training in the needlework of traditional embroidery and crochet. Their products are then sold in Lebanon and worldwide, and all earnings go to the women. Since its beginnings in May 2013, the Workshop cohort has grown from 10 to almost 350 Syrian and Palestinian women, all who now have access to income and are able to provide for their family. More importantly, the Workshop has enhanced their decision-making power, and supported them to reclaim dignity that they lost as refugees.
The Free Teachers and Pupils of Saraqeb was founded to secure free education for primary school children in Saraqeb, Idlib, Syria. Since 2011, Saraqeb has been consistently targeted by the regime due to the citizens’ insistence on demanding equal rights for all. Since the town was liberated in 2012 the regime has carpet-bombed the town, destroying most of the city’s infrastructure, private houses and schools. Since the Free Teachers and Pupils of Saraqeb was founded in 2013 it has rebuilt 14 schools, collected a staff of professional teachers and provided schooling as well as a respite from the insecurities of daily life to 400 children. Prior to this, almost all of the children had been out of school for three years and many had been working to provide income for their families. The organisation created the campaign “We learn in order to build our country” that works according to a three-step plan:
1. Getting children back in school, if necessary by compensating the parents for lost income. Most families in Syria today are displaced and the parents unemployed, making child labour a matter of survival. Through this project, we enable impoverished parents to provide their children with an education without risking starvation.
2. Hiring well-educated teachers who took part in the revolution and for this reason lost their jobs. These teachers can lead by example, inspiring their children by their courageous stand against authoritarianism.
3. Spreading the word and encouraging children all over Syria to return to school. Due to the security situation, going to school takes a lot of courage on the part of parents, children and teachers. Yet, as the headmaster of one of the schools called “Maysaloon” makes clear, education is a revolutionary act: “This country needs a lot of reconstruction, but we do not just rebuild streets and buildings, more importantly we reconstruct our children with education. The regime has tried to destroy us with its weapons, but we have insisted and insist that we should always build with education in order to avoid the emergence of an ignorant generation”.
The Refugee Solidarity Movement of Thessaloniki and Eidomeni is all volunteer group set up in the summer of 2015 to help refugees who are travelling through northern Greece on their way north. We originally started handing out cooked meals to refugees who were passing through the city of Thessaloniki but soon expanded our efforts to include clothing, sanitary items and toys. However, in September the refugee route changed and so we decided to start we have going up to the Eidomeni border crossing twice a week to serve tea to refugees waiting to cross the border with FYR Macedonia. In addition to this we also offer our help to any other organisation there that needs an extra pair of hands.
Syria Bright Future is a humanitarian, non-governmental non-profit organization. It started in 2008 in Syria by a group of specialists and non-specialists with the aim to enhance mental health in society, to increase societal awareness about it and to empower society’s members to develop their potentials and abilities in a way that enhance their mental and psycho-social well-being. In 2012 and after the Syrian crisis began, some of the group members moved to Jordan and started an initiative that included visits to Syrian refugees. They called their project ” Kefkum” (in Arabic: how are you?). They also visited patients with psychological disorders and some wounded persons. In 2013, SBF registered in Jordan by the help of Jordanian psychologists under the name “Bright Future for Mental Health”. BFMH started implementing many projects in Amman, Irbid, Al-Za’tari camp and inside Syria. In 2014, most of the Syrian members of the organization moved to Turkey, and registered the organization under the name “SYRIA BRIGHT FUTURE” «SURİYENİN GÖRKEMLİ GELECEĞİ DERNEĞİ». SBF has a good experience in implementing mental health and psychosocial projects, both inside Syria and in other countries. Also, it has a special expertise in implementing educational programs in emergency settings.
The organization came into life only end of 2014. A group of friends decided to start action against the daily drowning of people in the Mediterranean. They bought an old trawler and within six months a small organisation of volunteers developed. From June to October 2015 the different teams on board rescued and assisted more than 2000 people close to the Libyan coast. The Sea Watch concept is to render emergency medical aid on the water, keep people safe and organise with the help of others their transport to the main land. The other important component is the witnessing and speaking out aspect to increase political pressure on decision makers. Since November the organisation runs a speed boat from Lesbos (Greece) to support all those refugees crossing from Turkey. All time the teams are on standby to assist sinking boats and rescue people under difficult conditions. Since the European deal with the Turkish government to stop the relatively easy passage people have to take higher risks. That results into more suffering and loss of life. Sea-Watch will in 2016 increase its rescue activities, because nobody should pay with its life for the simple right of movement. The organisation is fully funded by private donations.
Flüchtlinge Willkommen (Refugees Welcome) is an organisation that accommodates refugees in flatshares. The organisation was founded in November 2014. People who can offer a space in their home sign up and are matched with a refugee often through a local refugee charity. So far, the organisation has matched over 250 refugees with hosts and has expanded across nine different European countries.
Die Gaartnerei is a community initiative that explores new forms of coexistence in the city of Berlin, providing a space for creative encounters and social transformations. Artists and architects, together with young refugees, have moved in a renovated space – originally a Jewish cemetery – where they run workshops, educational and cultural activities and re-approach the refugee issue in a participatory and inclusive way. Die Gaartnerei is an initiative of Schlesische27, an International Youth, Art and Culture House, offering community oriented art projects especially for children, youngsters and young adults in preferably heterogeneous groups. Their fields of work include projects for school classes, for young refugees, projects which are open to all youth and vocational trainings for adolescents, adults, artists and teachers. Schlesische27 organizes youth conferences and takes part in international exchanges and multilateral networks. More keywords of our work are intercultural learning, participation, social, cultural and civil engagement and self-empowerment. For more than 30 years they have given direction and set standards for the development of aesthetic education. Schlesische27 has a long experience in initiating and facilitating projects with a soft and fluid structure focusing on cultural and artistic experiments and tryouts of youngsters and young adults. Structurally they are organized as a non-profit association, basically funded by the Berlin Senate with 9 permanent employees.
Workeer is the first job board for refugees in Germany. By connecting job seeking refugees and employers, it aims to offer a positive perspective for them and the German society in the current situation. Workeer was created as the graduation project of Philipp Kühn and David Jacob for their communications design studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.
‘Cucula’ originates from the Hausa language in western central Africa, and means “to do something together”, as well as “to take care of each other”. CUCULA is an association, a workshop and an educational program all in one. It is for and together with refugees in Berlin. In contrast to the theoretical debate about the situation of refugees in Germany, the initiators strive for a pragmatic, immediate and action-oriented approach. The aim and object is to achieve something “together with” the refugees and not simply “for them”. Launching as a pilot project, CUCULA wants to give people, for whom the doors of society are locked, access to education. CUCULA wants to establish a ‘welcoming culture’, which helps refugees to break with the notion of ‘victimhood’, and at the same time unfold their self-efficacy and to open up a perspective for a self-determined life. Arriving, building one’s own future, experiencing self-efficacy, instead of being ‘administrated’ and deported – these are the project’s main motives.
a Greek NGO founded in 2010 which helps facilitate the reception and integration of refugees and immigrants in Greece. It is an Implementing Partner of UNHCR and is focused on services not covered by the Public Authorities or other NGOs in Greece, around two main axes:
METAdrasi has a permanent front-line presence in all key entry and exit locations (Evros, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kos, Rhodes and Idomeni), and specific missions with the UNHCR to other islands. Its input is practical and humanitarian, helping offer both dignity and essential support services to the plight of refugees in Greece, with a focus on the protection of vulnerable unaccompanied children.
Legis is founded in Skopje. During this refugee crisis, LEGIS has been one of the key players in FYROM. It attempts to remove the negative effects of wars and natural disasters, it empowers individuals and institutions of societies that have become dependent on aid and advocates by helping individuals and societies resume their daily life and become self-sufficient. Upholding the principle of building links between communities across the world, LEGIS establishes co-operations among countries and organizations worldwide, with the aim to fight poverty and establish social justice through long-lasting solution sand permanent projects.
PRO ASYL was founded in 1986, comprised of refugee councils, churches, unions as well as welfare and human rights organizations, have come together to protect refugees rights and to give voice to their concerns. PRO ASYL supports refugees individually in situations in which they need support, for example, in cases concerning their asylum status in court. They also work on the political level. Through means of analysis, legal reports, surveys, lobbying and European networking we effectively take part in public discussion. PRO ASYL wants to counteract the existing racist tendencies in our society through information based on facts and organisation of social opposition. Whether it is the erosion of asylum laws, dramatic individual fate, rights of children of refugees, scandalous social discrimination of asylum seekers or about regulation concerning the right of residence. Pro Asyl stands up in public for shaping a more humane and open society.
It was founded in 1989 with the mission to defend the rights of people who are entitled to protection in Greece, and to promote their smooth integration into local society. Refugees and beneficiaries of international protection in general – particularly vulnerable cases such as unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking, victims of torture, etc. – are the target group of GCR, who receive by the professional staff the necessary social and legal counseling and support so that they manage to lay the foundations for a new life without the fear of persecution. GCR, staffed by social workers, interpreters, political scientists, social anthropologists and specialist administrators, works on a daily basis to provide free legal and social advice and support through three basic services: Refugee Reception Center, Legal and Social Aid Departments.
Solomon encourages the involvement of locals, immigrants & refugees in the co-shaping of society through the free expression of their views, ideas and skills. The motivation for the creation of Solomon magazine is the belief that all people have an opinion and they should have the right to express it, especially about matters that affect them directly. The topics of the magazine vary and allow readers to experience Greece through the unique perspective of locals, immigrants and refugees. They believe that social integration does not require the absolute adoption of the host country’s culture. They want their editors to share their own culture, history and traditions with our readers.
One of Metaxourgio’s characteristics is its multiculturalism which inspired NGO AMAKA and SYNERGY-O to establish a creative workshop of theatre, photography, video and visual arts for young immigrants and refugees, based on art therapy methods. In the past four years, members of the team who are refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have created their own «Station» at SYNERGY-O.
Throughout the year a class is held on the 3rd floor of SYNERGY-O aiming to present a performance and all the preparation towards its realization. Starting from the journey theme with the performance «Station Athens» in 2011, we moved to here and now by working on the notion of a new «station» with the open rehearsal/performance «We are home» in 2012 and continued with the concept of war and the theatrical performance «We are the Persians!» based on the «Persians» by Aeschylus in 2013 to end up with stories from the past that led to their escape with the performance «I _LEFT». We revisited We are the Persians! in 2015 in order to create a larger-scale performance that premiered at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival last summer.
Kiron Open Higher Education (gUG) is a non-profit organization with a mission to remove barriers to access higher education for displaced people, asylum seekers, and refugees. Their goal is to empower young people through higher education degrees. They provide refugees with world-class education and the opportunity to graduate at a university free of charge. At Kiron University, students complete the first two years online and the third year at one of their partner universities, where they obtain an accredited university degree. Kiron has established a worldwide network of partner universities. Kiron is currently in the process of expanding the partnership network with more than 130 higher education institutions across Europe. Through Kiron’s innovative model that merges online and offline studies, a three-year Bachelor’s degree program costs only between EUR 1500 and 2000 per student. By today, more than 1,250 students initiated their studies with Kiron. This is facilitated through a team of around 80 people across 10 countries, coming from different fields, including educational experts, entrepreneurs, IT-specialists, and psychologists.
Ινστιτούτο Goethe Αθήνας