Weaves of tradition, a collective activity in Nea Kavala site
The initiative took place on the occasion of World Refugee Day on June 20. However, the sewing machines had been already put to work three weeks earlier by the experienced women of the Afghan community at the open accommodation in Nea Kavala.
The IOM Community Engagement Team, with the help of “Drop in the Ocean” organization, distributed fabrics and sewing machines to residents of the facility in order to create clothes inspired by their tradition. The result was the formation of 40 separate costumes for men, women and children. A total of 45 asylum seekers participated in the activity. A few had their own costumes.
“We left our lives, friends and families behind for a better future. Wherever we go, we carry our tradition in our souls. In these photos, you see who we really are, free and proud”, said Hamid from Afghanistan who participated in the action.
The response of the community was immediate and touching. The distribution of the fabrics and sewing machines gave the impetus for engagement and creativity.
“An important part of our job is to encourage the involvement of the camp community; in other words, to bring the camp to life. Many of the people living here are active on their own and such initiatives confirm their willingness to be part of the community and to develop communication channels outside it as well. They are essentially communicating their tradition in a European country”, explains Nikos Goutas from the IOM community engagement team.
With great talent, passion and know-how in sewing the women from the Afghan community of the accommodation, managed to create approximately 50 costumes.
“We carry our tradition and identity with us, wherever we go. It was a very nice experience in which we collaborated to bring about a beautiful result”, says Mariam an asylum seeker from Nea Kavala facility.
“Many of the participants felt seemingly moved during their participation yet for another reason”, explains Nikos Goutas. “They had lost their clothes in their attempt to reach Greece. Therefore, the symbolism is even stronger for some “, he adds.
The contribution of the organization Drop in the ocean was also significant as they generously offered the necessary materials and tools.
“Drop in the Ocean” continues its efforts to support the population of Nea Kavala camp with distributions, non-formal education for adults, community empowerment and mobilization activities, as well as integration support. We were delighted to support communities in the camp with materials to create some astonishingly beautiful traditional clothing”, says Ioannis Xenakis, representing “Drop in the Ocean”.
IOM operates in Nea Kavala open accommodation site as the official Site Management Support agency (SMS) with the support of the European Commission and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.