Every morning at 7.00am asylum seekers arrive at the asylum office in Thessaloniki, pass through security and wait for a long awaited, very important, and life changing interview. Whether there is rain, hail, snow, baking sun, or punishing wind, these individuals have been waiting long hours outside for their turn to put their case for protection forward. Anyone would hope to find a place of peace where they might gather their thoughts before such a moment, but people and their children have instead been fighting the elements. For those with children, this experience has been especially difficult. There has been no private place to breastfeed, and no place to leave children who are old enough to understand, and be affected by, the intimate and traumatising detail that their parents may have to recount as part of their plea for asylum. We have provided a women and children’s space, – This means children don’t have to attempt the interviews, and can be positively occupied whilst their parents or guardians prepare for and undertake their interviews. It also means that mothers can breastfeed their babies with dignity. We have built safe “fencing” to prevent kids running into the road, and to keep people at the centre safe. We asked our handy and hard working colleagues at The Get Shit Done Team to build and place seating with umbrellas for shade, which offer some comfort and space.
There is a significant gap in provision for those who lose a loved one here in Greece. InterVolve has facilitated several burials in order that families and friends may put their loved ones to rest in a culturally appropriate way.