Event to raise funds to teach English to refugees in Athens
A Cambridge Journal, Sunday 27 August 2017
by Stephen Hewitt
Tonight in Hot Numbers coffee bar in Gwydir Street around 40 people attended an event to raise funds to teach English to refugees living in City Plaza Hotel in Athens.
Alex, who is the operations manager of Select English language school in Station Road and St Andrews College, will go to Athens during his holidays in November.
Before drawing tickets for prizes in the fund-raising raffle, Alex gave a talk about the lives of refugees in City Plaza Hotel, illustrated with slides.
The City Plaza hotel is a squat. There are over 60,000 refugees in Greece and in April 2016 this empty hotel was taken over to house some of them. The hotel is in an area of Athens called Exarcheia (Εξάρχεια) which is controlled by anarchists and where the police do not go. What Alex said about Exarcheia echoed what I had heard in the same bar in February from two people raising funds to teach skateboarding to refugees in Athens (see related articles).
He presented a slide of statistics. The seven storey hotel has 126 rooms with over 100 families living there, including 165 children, 115 women, 100 men and 35 volunteers. One photograph showed tents pitched inside the lobby, something that is done because he said, there are not enough rooms. The occupants get hot water for an hour every two days. There is a very long waiting list for refugees wanting to stay there.
The Greek people are very friendly and welcoming to all the refugees, Alex said.
- Refugees in Athens, fundraising to teach skateboarding Wednesday 15 February 2017, Cambridge
- “Don't bomb Syria” demonstration in Whitehall 13 April 2018, Whitehall/Downing Street, London
- Bomb Syria says associate of president of Palestinian charity MAP January 2015, by Stephen Hewitt
- Hora Chilena, a film about Cambridge life of refugees from 1973 coup in Chile 20 Oct 2014 screening and discussion in Cambridge
- Guardian article: This refugee squat represents the best and worst of humanity Molly Crabapple, Guardian, 23 June 2017