In July 2022, we at Wave served 1,093 hot meals, welcomed 26 new arrivals, distributed 541 clothing and hygiene items, ran 152 showers, charged 74 phones and powerbanks, and washed 50 loads of laundry.
July was a warm and sunny month, with temperatures rising to end 30’s and hardly any rain. We’ve seen the numbers of people making use of our shower container rapidly rising over the past few weeks. Thanks to all the donors who contributed to our GoFundMe or directly to our account, we were able to get solar panels installed on top of the container. We are now prepared for the end of the year when temperatures will drop again; we can now provide people a warm shower. The rise of numbers in people taking a shower, also meant a higher demand in clean underwear. Thanks to the underwear donation from Three Peas, we were able to offer people with clean underwear after they had a refreshing shower.
It has been a busy month. After distributing food on the streets for nearly two and a half years, due to COVID-19, we finally moved back indoors again. After clearing, cleaning, painting, building, more cleaning and setting up the kitchen, we were able to set up a basis for our community center. In the past month we got a lot done, but we are still far from finished. We’ve expanded our opening hours so people can walk in during the day. We offer them a space where they can relax, recharge (in many ways) and catch their breath. Providing the people with a safe space where they are treated with dignity, makes all the difference in the world. We are very proud of being able to offer this again.
During July we also again engaged our team in some training activities as the monthly access to asylum and border violence training organised by us and delivered to our volunteers as well as the team of Medical Volunteers International.
Also we’ve held a basic kitchen and knife sharpening training to train our volunteers how to properly run a basic kitchen and how to professionally sharpen a knife.
At the end of July we’ ve had the opportunity to participate in a three day in training on risk assessments held by a wonderful team of Front Line Defenders which was founded by the UN special rapporteur of human rights defender. As the criminalisation process of NGO’ s in greece working with people on the move gets more and more serious it was really nice to have their well trained team over, to exchange a little over this topic and our and their experiences. Together with a team of IHA, MIT, ELA and Habibi Works we gained an insights on how to detect potential security threats and worked on how to mitigate them by assessing the participants and the potential damage they could do to us as an organisation but also individuals and vice a versa also at the potential allies. With this knowledge we will now start to revise our security protocols and adapt them to our indoor community center.
The month of July followed suit with June, where we have witnessed a further deterioration in human rights violations at Greece’s borders. With the continuation of European Court rulings being violated in Evros as people are left stranded on river islets, more deaths of people-on-the-move at the border as well as the ongoing police operations in Thessaloniki, the Greek state are making it incredibly difficult for people to obtain safe access to asylum. Despite the Ministry of Migration implementing a new online platform for people to register their asylum claims at the start of July, many questions remain as to what access people have to basic services and safety as they wait for months for an appointment to get an asylum seeker card. This uncertainty, coupled with the continued systematic practice of pushbacks occurring at both the land and sea borders, creates an environment of fear for our community. The recent publications of a new platform (Forensic Architecture) evidencing pushbacks in the Aegean involving over 27 000 people since 2020, and articles (Der Spiegel) proving Frontex’s involvement in pushbacks brings to question the lack of EU structures in place to hold Greece accountable for these severe rights violations. We will continue to try to provide a safe space for people who are denied access their rights, asylum systems, and basic services.
Generally we want to thank all our donors, big and small who are the reason that we can run our project. Without all of you we wouldn’t be able to provide the services that we do and that is a huge help for all the people on the move who are dependent on safe spaces like ours throughout their path.