Over 70 thousand refugees were stranded in Greece after the EU borders were closed in early 2016, waiting for their destiny to be determined by a painful and failing system. Some will be re-located to countries that its government does not support or want refugees, some will be denied their basic human rights and deported back to their abusive government, some will be united with their families, and some will be forced to stay in Greece permanently despites that their families are not in Greece but in other countries in Europe. While waiting for all this to happen, which might take 18 months to 2 years, many refugees are suffering every day the lack of the basic human rights of shelter, foods, clothing, education, and medicine because there isn’t enough funding and support coming from the EU or the big NGOs. This created a huge burden on the Greek government as well as the Greek people, and those refugees are left without any kind of support. SURF teamed with the Syrian Solidarity House, and collaborated with independent groups and volunteers as well as the local Greek communities to support these abandoned refugees, provided financial aids to establish temporarily shelters, and supplied foods and clothing to over 400 refugees and over 180 children.
Many refugees decided to stay in Greece, or were forced to stay in Greece by the EU, and this called for more permanent resilient living solutions for these refugees. Again, SURF stepped forward and teamed up with the Syrian Solidarity House and created the “Refugees Village for Freedom” as a permanent living solution for the refugees and the families who live in Greece. The project’s goal is to create a self-sustaining ECO village where refugees can live, work, and integrate in the Greek communities. The project includes: Agriculture land, dairy farm, houses, pharmacy, and a clinic which will support the refugees and the local Greek communities.
The project took off last November by securing a land of 257 acres (half is donated and the other half is rented) in the town of Kaparelli, a couple of hours outside Athens. The land is being planted with almond trees, wheat, chickpeas, okra, and vegetables. Also, a big portion of the land will be dedicated to dairy farming once funding is available. The land currently has 2 houses, and more will be built over time to host more families. The Refugees’ skilled labor will be utilized to remodel the town’s houses and restoring them to their original condition for a fee to support the refugees who will be settling in the village. You can follow the work in progress of this project on the following link on Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/Refugee-Village-For-Freedom-1877051302553073/
This project still needs financial support to achieve its goal, some of the immediate needs are:
1- Cows and sheep to generate milk and other dairy products
2- Small Tools to help in the planting process
3- Small tools to help building the houses
4- Machines for the bakery as everything is done by hand right now
5- Funds to establish the clinic and the pharmacy
SURF is honored to work side by side with the Syrian Solidarity House team, the independent volunteers, and the Greek communities to support the vulnerable refugees, and create this noble project. Your generous donations will support hundreds of refugees and provide them with decent and basic living means, as well as a sustainable infrastructure so children can live and grow in a humane environment.
Your SURF team