The long-term accommodation camp Skaramagas is located in Athens and has more than 2.700 residents. The majority live in equipped caravans with air-condition, toilet and a kitchen – usually shared by two families.
In 2017, A Drop in the Ocean opened a brand-new Drop Shop in Skaramagas. Then, the need for clothes and shoes were great. Whenever the shop was open, the residents could buy what they needed with the fake currency “Drop”. As the years passed, the needs changed.
Many residents travel to the city-centre to buy clothes, and the need for our Drop Shop on an everyday basis has decreased. Thus, we have adapted to the needs and changed how we do distributions.
“We arrange for two big distribution per year: one in the spring or summer, and one in the fall or winter,” explains Silvia Vezzani, Site Coordinator in Skaramagas.
Every person in the camp, regardless of registration status, receive clothes in these large seasonal distributions. A Drop in the Ocean also arrange for additional distributions, which is highly needed at the moment.
Supporting the ones who need it the most
The latest arrivals to the camp have been accommodated in two big hangars on the edge of the camp. There, people live in tents on the concrete floor and under a big metal roof. Around 40 families share one public toilet.
“They live far away from every service and in a very difficult condition. Our team provided them with all the clothes and hygiene items they needed,” says Silvia. The hygienic level in camp is deteriorating and many are infected with skin diseases.
The majority of these people have already got a positive answer to their asylum request. They were previously living in the camp, but were sent away, ended up living on the streets in the city centre and were returned to camp by the police.
“The exit procedure from the camp now is extremely fast and families see their cash cards cut immediately after their positive reply for the asylum, without enough time to organise themselves before they have to leave,” says Silvia, and adds that for some, the “outside” of the refugee camp seems more threatening and difficult to face than the “inside”.
A Drop in the Ocean is ready to provide the residents with necessary clothes, regardless of registration status, and is planning for a big seasonal distribution in October, in addition to a larger distribution of hygiene items.
From the 6th of October and the following 14 days, the camp will be in lockdown due to Covid-19. A Drop in the Ocean continues with distributions but have temporarily suspended other socio-educative activities.