The Greek Forum of Refugees had both the pleasure an the honor to be present in the City of Thessaloniki (23 – 24 June) where it held a series of informative sessions with the city’s refugee communities, in the context of the programmatic collaboration with the Refugee.Info and the Mobile Info Team with the funding support by the International Rescue Committee.
The beginning of the meetings took place in the Ecumenical Workshop for Refugees NAOMI, a center that works methodically and with dedication to support the labor integration of asylum seekers and refugees through learning the art of sewing.
On the same day, the Greek Forum of Refugees visited SolidarityNow’s Blue Refugee Center, a support center for asylum seekers and refugees that has been operating since 2016, offering a wide range of important services to people, always having as a compass the contribution to their socio – political and economic inclusion.
Both meetings focused on strengthening the representation of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants through forming communities or joining existing networks.
The next day, the program of meetings was started by ELPIDA HOME, a model community center working on the empowerment and support of refugees. The discussion focused on strengthening the civic participation of refugees and migrants in the decision – making processes and even more so through the Council for the Integration of Migrants and Refugees in the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
Finally, the cycle of informative meetings was completed with the visit to the women’s center of IRIDA, in one of the most important meetings in the context of the information program of the Greek Forum of Refugees. The participation of women in the debate on the empowerment of communities and the civic representation of refugees and migrants in Greece, and more specifically in the city of Thessaloniki, has been a real inspiration. The will of women to participate in public affairs and to represent themselves dynamically is a catalyst and is in a position to lay the foundations of a strong presence in the Council for the Integration of Migrants and Refugees of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and beyond.
The Greek Forum of Refugees, as an association for the collective representation of refugee communities, enables refugees and asylum seekers to become members of the organisation or to get in touch with the communities that represent them at a collective level with the aim of strengthening their voice and representation at the local level.
This, after all, is the strategic goal of our organisation in the context of the effort to enhance the interaction of refugee communities with the host society in order to empower social cohesion.
We would like to warmly thank Ms. Dora Kokozidou, member of the support team of UNHCR Greece for the integration of refugees and contact person with the Municipality of Thessaloniki, for her valuable contribution in materialising the above information sessions with the refugee communities in the city.