At the Refugees Care Center located in Thessaloniki, refugees and immigrants have the opportunity to swim, wash their clothes, relax with a glass of tea or coffee and some snacks “surfing” on the internet, learn Greek, English or German, acquire some skills while children have their own play area.
The initiative belongs to the humanitarian organisation Agape, which, in collaboration with the Panhellenic Evangelical League, in Northern Greece, has managed in a few months to turn a dull and well-known place into a functional care centre for refugees and immigrants in the city.
“We had captured the idea from the old since the closing of Edomeni, but then we did not have the possibility to set up such a structure. We rented this space in January and until April we formed it, “explains Dimitris Tsoukalas from Agape in the APE-MPA.
There is a total of 8 bathrooms, washing machines and tumble dryers, donated clothes are distributed, while in the comfortable sofas and tables that are placed in the reception area, others are served in internet surfing and others are setting up wells by exchanging news of the day. “It’s a good opportunity to see some friends who ‘miss’ the other days of the week, living in the street,” says a young Pakistani, while a Syros, with the help of a translator, gives a young volunteer a blanket for washing.
Pakistani, Nepalese, Moroccan, Afghan, and 2-3 refugee Syrian families are the main “patrons” of the Refugees Care Center. “We write their names to know who they are visiting, but we accept them all,” says Tsoukalas and explains that while the initial thought was to create a center for families mainly of Syrian refugees, it was found that in this neighborhood were mainly people of other nationalities, those who lived on the road or needed help.