One year later...

“Women hold up half the sky” – A Chinese proverb

Having been on the island of Chios since the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal on 20th March 2016, where the refugee population has been stuck in a state of limbo, our founder met many refugee women in the camps.  Through the establishment of trust and formation of strong relationships, she gathered in depth feedback about issues they are facing.

She’s witnessed how women of all ages (especially single female travellers) brave discrimination. Harsh conditions of the camps expose them to sexual harassment and attacks. There were no facilities specifically catering to the needs of the women on the island. They have no safe place to gather, to take a break from camp life and to just be themselves.

Across all cultures, women are the glue holding family units together, and our Founder believed that this particular group of refugees deserve specialist support while they live in the camps and navigate their way through a complex and frustrating situation.

On 20th July 2016, Action From Switzerland opened the Athena Centre for Women, just a stone’s throw away from Souda camp.

The Athena Centre for Women is the first women-only space outside of the camps in Greece.

Our vision for this centre revolves around the concept of creating a “safe space” which will offer women the opportunity to enrich their lives, recover their sense of identity which has been lost during the crisis. Besides empowerment and educational activities, the Centre will also function as a hub from where specific needs – legal/psychological/female health – of the women refugee population of Chios, will be addressed, with empowerment and educational activities.

For more information:

The Athena Centre for Women