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Skala Sikamineas has always been a special place. Now, it has two Nobel Peace Prize nominees from the village.
This little fishing village by the sea, looking out on Turkey, has given so much support to the arriving refugees in need. Years and years before the volunteers came. Most of the local residents in Skala are the descendants of people forced to leave their homes in Turkey in the 1920’s, starting a new life in Greece, and they connect their own backgrounds to what the refugees now have to go through.
83 year old grandmother Emilia Kamvisi and Stratos Valiamos, one of the fishermen in Skala Sikamineas who have been rescuing refugees at sea, are now said to have been picked to represent the helpers on the Greek islands in a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In December, we posted this interview with Stratos. After spending months helping each other out in welcoming people arriving on Lesvos, taking us out on beach cleanings and chatting in the cafés, our humble friend told us more about what he has been through here.
People have started a journey to a better life. I will not let the sea stop them.
The sea has always been the the love of Stratos life. Few days have passed without him being in the water. But since the refugee crisis intensified in May, the sea has given him problems sleeping.
The greek goverment with a new parliament decision, anounced that it
will be the greek military and the ministery of it, that has the
responsability for the hotspots .A new coordination comittee in the
ministery of the Aegean and Island Politics, will make the acreditation
and registration of NGOS and volunteers .
Lets see how the great volunteer work done by thousands people from all
over the world on their own expences and suporting also the local
economy, all this months, in the greek islands, will be kicked off in a
Which means no eyes that can witness. Now more than ever: dont live the
refugees alone .
Nasimgul spent 18 hours in the rough sea near Lesvos without knowing if she’d survive and having lost track of her small baby girl in August 2014. This is her story.
There have been several articles in different in Greek and English language media about the “Welcome to Greece!” guide of our network. Most of them up to now have been denouncing and/or misinforming though. Mostly, journalists obviously didn’t even read the guide before writing about it. To avoid further misunderstandings leading to the defamation of the guide here are some explanations:
- Some basic information: The guide „Welcome to Greece!“ (see: http://lesvos.w2eu.net/info-for-refugees/welcome-to-greece-guide/) exists in four languages, English, Arabic, Farsi, French. The first version was published in August 2014, an updated version in July 2015. It is produced by the network Welcome to Europe and it was mainly distributed during what we call the “Journeys back to the border”, when refugees who arrived via Greece in Europe go back every year to welcome those who arrive newly.
- The guide is distributed for free and it can be downloaded on the website w2eu.info for free as well. We invite again all solidarity groups and structures to download it and reprint it. Many solidarity groups acting in Greece have already asked us to print and spread the guide or get already printed version for distribution as there is an immanent lack of information leading to a high degree of anxiety and stress among the newly arriving. Many people are distributing the guide currently belonging to different groups and their feedback is just: That more guides are needed!
- It is one of the huge gaps in Greece during this current humanitarian crisis concerning the situation of refugees that they don’t have the information they need in order to understand their rights, possibilities and obligations in Greece and Europe as well as the situation and place they specifically find themselves in upon arrival. Our main aim is to inform the people and to give them as much space as possible to take their own decisions grounded on knowledge of the situation: against the deadly consequences of a migration regime that forces them to take these dangerous routes. With thousands of refugees arriving daily in Greece, the capacities of UNHCR, NGOs and solidarity groups are much too low as to provide each newcomer orally with basic information about their rights in their own language. Continue reading Welcome to Greece! – Some facts about the refugee’ guide of Welcome to Europe