In an area of Athens particularly affected by the recent migration crisis, Didi founded an organization called Amurtel Greece. It supports refugee mothers during their motherhood. A meeting full of generosity.
A mobile project that has gradually become established
In front of a building in Victoria Square in Athens, a few women beside strollers or carrying children talk. Others push the door and climb the stairs. Their presence here is no coincidence: they are refugee women who accept the support offered by the Amurtel Greece organization created in 2015 by Didi.
“Before settling in the center of Athens, we supported women and children in the camps”, she explains. She succeeded in mobilizing midwives and lactation consultants who voluntarily helped them.
Since May 2017, Amurtel Greece is settled in an apartment where women come from the nearby camps as well as from the urban facilities. 44 nationalities are represented, “most of them coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Irak, Iran, Palestine and from the African continent”. “Of course, we have had our doors open for the greek women from the beginning”, Didi outlines.
A center managed by and for women
When it comes to delivery or breastfeeding, it’s essential to be among women: “we know each other, we understand each other and it’s easier to talk”. Many of them didn’t have the possibility to learn how their bodies work or to be informed about delivery and breastfeeding. “Almost all mothers feel that they don’t have enough milk and that the milk is not good quality. And neither is necessarily true. But they need to have help to understand it and get going again”. In that sense, discussion groups and specialists’ support provide them with adequate information and reassure them in this “particularly vulnerable period in a human being’s life”.
When they leave their country, these women generally lose their female environment that supports them during their maternity. The centre thus allows them to recreate a community and to be less isolated.
Even though this space is managed by and for women, the fathers’ place remains a preoccupation. During the first year, they came to Amurtel Greece with their families and were present for the examinations. Women didn’t feel really at ease and opened up once they were alone. Fathers have therefore been slowly less included.
A future full of ideas but uncertain
Even if funding is today a big issue for the organization, Didi keeps imagining new actions. The volunteers have recently done examinations and provided support in the camps again – the kind of things that she would like to increase in order to help more and more women.
Didi also wishes to develop new actions particularly addressing women abuse, what implies to have – in the long-term – psychologists or social workers on board.
Women’s empowerment is Amurtel Greece’s essence. Didi hopes “to bring more of the refugee and migrant women on staff” in the next two years, so that the center would be made for them and managed by them completely.