Lots has been going on behind the scenes at EKO camp in Thessaloniki and our team have been super busy over the past few months.
April saw a big change for us. We had spent the previous 3 months working and supporting the community at Vasilika camp, just around the corner from EKO. In April, the Greek authorities decided to close Vasilika.
The community was moved to Derveni, a camp in west Thessaloniki, where 48 of the 50 residents of Vasilika were accepted.
At EKO, we continued to support the 2 people who weren’t accepted. Whether 1000 people or 2, we were committed to supporting every last person and would not abandon them. Thankfully, after 3 weeks, they were also accepted with the rest of the community in Derveni.
At this time, we were receiving information from different sources, suggesting that Vasilika would be repopulated in June or July, so we continued to work at EKO to make sure it was in the best possible position to accept a new community. In the past 6 months we have been redeveloping the spaces to create organic, multi-purpose solutions that meet the needs of the community – doing everything we can to advance the amazing work of Eko Project and continue its legacy.
While we were preparing EKO for a new community, team member Thomas followed the last community to Derveni to continue to support them with our Sports, Development and Peace project. Giving them access to football training had a profound impact on them, uniting people from 10 different nationalities through the programme, which received lots of positive feedback from other organisations about the improvement of the people taking part.
At this time, NGOs started vacating their spaces, and we learned that Vasilika would not be in use in the future. It was important for us to take a step back here, and to rethink our strategy.
It was so important for us to continue the legacy of EKO, to make sure that everything you have helped to grow and build would continue to fulfil its purpose and support those who need it. We realised that we had to close down the EKO space, but we were committed to continue the positive impact that EKO has been so well known for.
We were able to identify 5 or 6 different organisations running projects similar to EKO, and through them we have found homes for all of the amazing donations and assets that we had at EKO, which will be used by hundreds of people in their communities.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be telling you more about the organisations that have been supported by EKO, and how these donations will help them.
As a team, Arnau, Mary, Dan and Thomas have worked tirelessly to ensure that EKO closes in the right way, that we support other teams and projects, and that we restore the land to how it was before.
We would like to thank you all for your continued support, and we hope that you will follow us and the projects we work on in the future.