The buildings 2nd school, 5th school, Hotel Oniro, Themistokleous 58 and Acharnon 22 are informal shelters that house asylum seekers. Each squat houses hundreds of refugees who organise the spaces themselves providing accommodation, food, and water, due to the neglect of the state and major international organisations.
Asylum seekers have the right to housing and yet many who come to Athens find the only options available are the streets or one of Athens’ squats.
In recent months these squats have been filled beyond capacity, and yet still do an incredible job to provide whatever support they can to over a thousand asylum seekers who have not been able to find any means of accommodation elsewhere.
The squats house multiple nationalities from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. They are only available for asylum seekers to stay in.
Currently 2nd School and 5th School, which are former schools themselves, run daily language classes for adults and children, as well as weekly legal assessments, and medical clinics.
The other squats - Hotel Orino, Acharnon 22, and Themistokleous 58, are in need of volunteers for a variety of activities which are open to your ideas.
If you are interested in volunteering in any of the preexisting activities, or have your own activity you’d like to bring to the squats, then please message us and tell us more.
Volunteers must be 18+. We require that volunteers enter the spaces as independent actors with no specific religious, political, or other ideological labels. Being respectful of the diversity of cultural differences and understanding that you are a guest in these peoples homes is a necessity. This includes being conscious of how you dress, no institutional branding and generally being aware of yourself and the values of those around you. Likewise, there will be similar rules you will be given when arriving such as not going into private rooms, a zero tolerance to drugs and alcohol consumed on site, and no photos.
Some examples of previous activities are; kids football, kids arts and crafts, women’s group, self care, knitting classes, mural painting, art therapy, psychology support, music classes, circus activities, legal assessment, language classes, maths class, gardening, and general maintenance (i.e plumbing, repairs)
We ask that volunteers come for a minimum of 1 month, unless you are doing a specific workshop that we have discussed. This is for consistency and to avoid volunteer tourism. We also ask that you spread the word about the squats to any like minded, reliable people to help support the needs of asylum seekers.
The squats receive material support from grass roots organisations that provide bedding, gas, food, and other things, but they are in need of much more. The squats will accept donations but never cash. Please message us if you have something you want to give.