However, a group of people living in Oreokastro camp in the outskirts of Thessaloniki has decided to self-organise against the unacceptable conditions. In protest against the mistrust and frustration created through empty promises from different organizations and authorities, the people staying at Oreokastro camp founded a council. The council first came together on the 27th of July, with the goal to step up for the needs and interests of their community. With the urge to improve the situation, they took on the responsibilities of the organisations and started having regular meetings, discussing the current situation with the people staying at Oreokastro camp, looking for solutions and new ways to improve their conditions (…) The council decided to take initiative and managed, with the help of independent donations, to provide important groceries for cooking. Oil, sugar, rice as well as coffee and several vegetables were ordered and distributed equally to all 310 tents. Instead of reacting to peoples demands for basic needs, the organizations working in the camp had kept talking and discussing matters such as education – but without setting up a school or any special activities. If the parents have troubles feeding their children properly and healthily, the matter of education is secondary. However, the refugees managed to set up and run a school themselves with teachers from their own community. They have different age groups with different subjects, including science, mathematics and history. Only the Greek lessons are taught by a Greek NGO and the English language classes are supported by independent volunteers. The school supplies and materials have also been donated by independent volunteers (…) Another example for the work that the council has been doing is the now existing women’s space. After a long process of asking questions, exchanging ideas and negotiations, a space was prepared and set up together with volunteers. Now, it is run by two women from the camp. It is improving the practical situation for the women as well as the atmosphere among the inhabitants.
Busteam in Update on the self-organisation in Oreokastro camp (Movingeurope)