In Sindos, Northern Greece, members of our organization were recently on hand to formalize a special event. The occasion was the taking over of the TAMAM Community Center for refugees.

Following a THREE PEAS initiative on Thursday, June 29th, 2017, a meeting was held on TAMAM’s premises with coordinators and co-workers of other organizations working in the areas of Sindos and Thessaloniki. Issues and problems faced by refugees in everyday life were discussed. As well there was an interesting exchange of views and ideas about the means and ways that organizations and volunteers can attract people to visit cultural and social places like TAMAM more often. We would particularly like to thank Valentino, Debora and Meret from the “Be a Robin” organization, Warda and Deborah from RTI, Sven Weiss and Geo Messmer.

On the following day, Friday the 30th of June 2017, we organized a ceremony where the taking over of TAMAM by THREE PEAS was officially announced. At this event, we were given also the opportunity to thank some of those who supported the Community Center in Sindos from the very first moment of its operation back in November 2016 with Swiss Cross. Teachers, helpers and volunteers who have been working for TAMAM, as well as partner organizations such as Doc Mobile, RTI, Dr. Omar and the MSF Team in Thessaloniki, and Geo Messmer were among those who were awarded. Also, the students who participated in the different schooling courses for refugees, which TAMAM provides since November 2016, were granted too. After the ceremony, a party followed with delicious food, refreshments and fun for everyone. A very special thank you to the “Help Refugees” organization, for providing Arabic Bread to be consumed at the party and distributed to our guests.

On Saturday, due to the unbearable heat, we thought it was necessary to escape to the sea with some of the guests of of our Housing Project. We visited the beach of Epanomi in Thessaloniki, where for a few hours young and old played and cooled in the sea. Members of the “Be a Robin” team joined us and Geo Messmer, who personally took care of the safe transportation and the entertainment of Ghalia’s and Mahmoud’s family. It was indeed a beautiful scene to watch how the kids were playing and laughing carelessly and happily in the water and with the sand.

Ghalia has been living with her three young children for several months in Greece, being housed by THREE PEAS in Thessaloniki. Her husband and father of the children, Mahmoud has been granted asylum in Austria, lives in Vienna and has struggled for months to achieve reunification with his family. With our support, he had the chance to visit his family in Thessaloniki and spend some happy moments with them for a couple of weeks. We deeply appreciate that Geo, the good soul that he is, constantly offers his friendship and support to this family!

As the tradition has it, also on this trip, we visited the families housed by our organization in Sindos. We were eager to hear about their whereabouts and to discuss with them their concerns, their fears and their problems. We have tried to encourage them as much as possible so that they keep going strong and not to lose their hope in these difficult conditions they live in.

Unfortunately, the stories of displaced people living throughout Greece in fear, despair and anxiety for the future are countless. For the thousands of refugee families who are being forced to live apart, life is anything but normal.

In a time when so many people have forcibly lost their ordinary lives and become refugees, our approach to their situation should be that of understanding, sympathy, respect and human solidarity. Let us not forget that all these people are like anyone else, like you and me and all they wish is to live normally again.

We ask you to believe in the work of THREE PEAS and to support our efforts to bring some dignity and normalcy to the lives of our fellow human beings in need. Thank you!

Vassia Vlachou Thein