Making bracelets (photo credit Tania Olive Collyer)

Women in the camp

Every one of the refugees living in Skaramagas has fled their country, has gone through a difficult journey, has experienced trauma(s) and is now in limbo waiting to either continue their journey or stay in Greece. A lot of the guests in the camp have post-traumatic stress disorder and are struggling on a daily basis. Add to that, they live in an environment where there is not much to do, it’s just a concrete jungle with nothing, not even shade.

There are a few things that boys/men can do in the camp such as swimming, possibility to play football and fishing but for women there is nothing. It’s not that the women can’t swim, play football or fish but currently very few of the girls/women do participate in those activities.

So another service that the drop in the ocean is providing in the camp is activities for women. Once the mother and baby space close for the day, the same space is used for women and teenagers. Monday through Saturday there is first 1 hour of activities for teenagers followed by 1 hour for women. The focus is to give them something to do, have some fun, maybe learn something and just provide a safe and private space where they can also just sit and relax and talk.

Food served during our conversational English evenings

We alternate activities between conversational English, arts and craft and make-up evenings. For the English conversation evening, there is always a theme that we discuss with the women/teenagers. Sometimes we play a game or do some miming. A favourite is discussing food and the women bring some! I’ve had some amazing food, while learning how to make it and teaching what it’s called in English. For our arts and craft evenings, we’ve been painting, making bracelets, bunting and sewing, where making bracelets seems to be the most popular activity (at least for the teenagers). We also take the opportunity of the arts and craft nights to decorate the women space a bit as well.

The most popular activity, hands down, for both the teenagers and women, is make-up. Basically we just provide make-up and the girls/women go at it! Sometimes we help put some sparkle on nail polish or eyes but mostly the girls come to put on make-up themselves or change nail polish on their nails. It’s such a popular activity that we have to limit the participation due to the size of the space!

Freshly painted sparkly nails!

All three activities we offer bring together teenagers/women of different nationalities, ages and background and hopefully give them a fun filled hour away from their bleak reality.

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