Only four days after opening its doors, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) together with Joachim Stamp, Member of Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, paid a visit to the brand-new WELCOMMON Refugees Community & Hosting Center in downtown Athens. This model hostel for Syrian refugees operates in the center of the Greek capital to avoid the marginalization of the hosted people and promote their interaction and cooperation with the local population instead.
Joachim Stamp, spokesperson on migration and integration of the FDP’s parliamentary group in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, wanted to see how Greece manages to receive refugees in a time with heavy financial constraints. What he found was a hosting facility which offers 250 war refugees a medium-term home without having to cope with too much bureaucracy. Several Greek civil society organizations joined forces with the City of Athens and UNHCR, and lots of helping hands provided the manpower necessary to turn an abandoned hospital into a full-fledged reception center.
“It is impressive what volunteers have created here”, Joachim Stamp concluded. “The WELCOMMON center is second to none when it comes to offering refugees a save and yet fully integrated space in the center of Athens. I am happy to see that also in Greece various efforts are made to host refugees instead of merely having them transit the country.”
The WELCOMMON Refugees Community & Hosting Center constitutes a comprehensive and integrated model addressing the refugee issue, which covers for free and immediately all the basic needs of the refugees arriving in Greece, aiming not only at housing them, but also at empowering and including them in the local community through capacity building and facilitation of their active participation and cooperation with the local population, providing adequate infrastructure and quality services, applying best practices with respect to the dignity of the refugees.
Pictures: FNF Greece