It’s been slowly getting cooler in Thessaloniki and you can feel that summer is coming to an end. Although temperatures continued to reach 30C during the first half of September, the latter half saw temperatures drop to approximately 20C during the day and 10C below night. The fall in temperature particularly affects many of our community members who live in precarious situations with no access to adequate housing. We’ve seen an increasing need for warmer clothes and now distribute more jumpers and joggers than shorts. We would like to thank Naomi for kindly providing us with the joggers and shorts!
In the past month, the need for sleeping bags has risen following the temperature change and the increase in newcomers to our centre. Fortunately, during a vist to our centre, Project Elpida generously donated 40 sleeping bags to us, which we were happy to distribute to new arrivals.
Saying goodbye to our co-founder Hope
Sadly, at the beginning of September we said farewell to our co-founder and project coordinator Hope. Her impact on the project cannot be summed up with words as she was the heart and soul of the project for a long time. Wave would not be the same project as it is now had you not been here.
Dear Hope, you will not only be missed dearly by the team but also the community you unwaveringly supported. If there was ever an issue, you gave it your all to find a solution. Your dedication to the project is admirable and very much appreciated by everyone you have helped inside or outside of Wave in the past years. In the name of all those people and from the team, we want to say a massive thank you and wish you all the best for your future. Sukran bzaf!!!! Although we are of course sad about Hope’s departure, the new coordination team, comprised of some past volunteers, are excited for this new chapter with the project.
#UniversalPlate Instagram takeover
We participated in the Universal Plate campaign run by the Social Gastronomy Project, a global network of people and organisations seeking to address social inequalities through the power of food. Their ethos is that food is a political, universal and above all human right, a view which we share. Many of those who visit our centre are deprived of this basic right, which we seek to address by serving a warm, nutritious meal. For the IG takeover, we got to share the daily operations at Wave which included visiting the local farmers market to collect fruit and vegetables, preparation of salad, juice and a hot meal, and incorporating leftover food to ensure minimal food waste. Check out the Social Gastronomy Movement on Instagram to view our takeover!
Access to Asylum training
We held our monthly Access to Asylum and Border Violence training, this time facilitated by Manon from Mobile Info Team/Border Violence Monitoring Network. We were delighted to have volunteers from IHA, NLA, MVI and MIT join us for the training. As the situation for NGOs supporting POM becomes increasingly hostile and the ever-looming threat of criminalisation, it is crucial we continue to build and strengthen solidarity networks of support. Topics covered in the training included a brief history on the construction of the Common European Asylum System, the securitisation of migration in Europe, the so-called 2015 “crisis”, a timeline of key events since 2015 particularly focused on the Greek context, key terminology and border violence.
AN UPDATE ON THE POLITICAL CONTEXT IN GREECE
As mentioned in our previous reports, the Ministry of Migration and Asylum published a new online platform for registering asylum claims where people can choose one of two registration facilities in Northern and Southern Greece. Appointments were due to commence on 1 September 2022 but the system has effectively shut down with no appointments available, leaving people with no option of registering their asylum claim. Individuals who must wait until the registration appointments recommence are therefore left without access to basic services and at increased risk of detention and pushback. We are particularly concerned for many who avail of our services.
At the Thessaloniki International Fair Trade in September, the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, unveiled plans for a new €3.7m EU-funded surveillance project. The EU-funded drones will use “innovative algorithms” that can “automatically identify defined targets of interest” at the Greek border. This is deeply worrying as Artifical Intelligence systems increase racial profiling, which will effect many that we serve, and inevitably excaberate border violence.
A delegation of MEPs from the Greens/European Free Alliance visited the Greek-Turkish border in the Evros region to investigate illegal pushbacks. The MEPs were denied access to the highly militarised zone with German MEP Erik Marquardt criticsing the Greek government for it’s “wall of lies” and denial of the systematic pushbacks. They have launched a campaign calling for the European Commission to freeze funds to countries that carry out pushbacks and to make new migration funds conditional to human rights compliance.