Vision for Community Center Greece By Molly Hock
Community Center Vision: As I walk through the refugee camps in Northern Greece I am greeted by one lovely soul after the next. When I sit down to show my compassion, love, and respect for whichever refugee calls me, I am told the same thing over and over again. One man at Eko pats his tent, and asks me, “where is the life?”. A young father gestures to his surroundings, “this is not a life”. A woman breastfeeding her newborn baby in a tent in Oreokastro tells me, “I want a life for my child”.
I can’t tell you how many refugees stuck in Greece have expressed their desires to return to Turkey. I couldn’t help but ask myself why? For what? To work 12-15 hours a day, six days a week… To be treated as tourists, or second class citizens… To live in tiny, moldy apartments that make them ill… I kept asking myself, “how can this be worse than the living conditions in Turkey?”.
I have came to a place where I have realized there is no comparing the suffering, the lack of humanity… And there is no reason to do so anyway. Living conditions are tough no matter where the refugees are… Whether it be Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, Germany, or France. I receive calls for help from all over the world.
I have sat with this for quite some time… Pondering this lack of human worth, dignity, and ‘life’. How can I approach this, and what can I offer to make these people feel even slightly more valued?
Over the past week I have developed a dream, a vision to set up a community center for the women, young men, vulnerable children, and anyone who seeks a break from their daily lives. At this time, I see the greatest need for such opportunity in Greece, where they are lacking basic freedoms and rights.
The people are living in dark, stale, abandoned factories with little light in their lives. They sit in boredom contemplating the past, and worrying about what is to come. In most of the new camps, there are is no education or extracurricular activities being provided.
Our team at One Light Global would like to open a community center to offer a safe, healing, and nurturing space. We aim to offer meditation, yoga, language classes, social activities, field trips into nature and to nearby towns. We would like to offer a glimpse of normalcy, an opportunity to develop sisterhoods and intercultural connections.
The vision started as a safe space for women, but the needs of the other vulnerable groups quickly came to mind. For example, the young men age 16-22, which seem to have been forgotten by the world. We will aim to bring these young men together with one another, and to offer them opportunities outside of the camp. We want to show them that we are listening, that the world hears their cries.
We need your support to make this dream possible. If you feel inspired, please donate.
Please specify GREECE by sending me a message or an email. We are in the process of adding Greece to our donation options, so until then please let us know.
One Light Global is a project of Humanity Healing International, a 501(c)3 public charity.