NAOMI is networked with many refugee organizations in the region, nationally and internationally. It is supported by committed people who care about the fate of refugees and their integration in Greece.
We were able to visit two of these organizations. WAVE is a facility on the outskirts of Thessaloniki where people on the way of their flee, people living in illegality and homeless people can rest. They get a warm meal and something to drink. In a clothing store they can get used clothes or a sleeping bag. They can take a shower, do laundry and get hygiene items. On certain days there is medical care. The work is carried out by a few full-time staff and a team of volunteers. We meet there some volunteers from Germany, who are on the sidelines of their studies at the university in Thessaloniki helping once a week or who are here for a few months after their education in Germany. Originally, the facility had rooms in the middle of the city. Protests from residents led to them having to move to an industrial area on the outskirts of the city in the immediate vicinity of the red light district.
The second organization, CASA BASE, is located in close proximity to the „Reception & Identification Center“ of Diavata. It is a place exclusively for refugee women and young girls. There they can engage in sports, play together and exchange ideas in a protected environment. They receive health care and additional food to ensure they have enough to eat. Painting and photography courses are offered. Some of the photographs have already won awards, including the Best Single Shot of the World.Report Award.
Already in the run-up to our trip we had asked the responsible Greek ministry for a visit to Camp Diavata and a camp on Lesvos. For Diavata we got a permit. Originally it was an open refugee camp. In the meantime, containers were erected with funds from the European Union and a wall was built around the camp to give the refugees a feeling of security, as we were told by the camp management during our visit. Meanwhile, it is only a „Reception & Identification Center“ and the refugees are there for a maximum of 25 days. Then they are distributed to other camps. But there are also refugees in the camp who have already been living there for several months.
In the evening we meet with Florian Schmitz. He has been living in Greece for 10 years and writes, among other things, reports on the situation of refugees and the consequences of the Greek refugee policy for Deutsche Welle. In his latest article from February 8, he reports on the fate of Rana (name changed):