Blog: Social

Welcommon: A Co-op Hostel in Greece Standing with Refugees

June 20, 2017

Syrian mother Falek Kourini seeks refuge for her two surviving sons on the mainland of Greece. Her husband and third son were killed as a result of growing violence in Syria. Her youngest son, Morad, was injured in a missile attack in Syria. Falek explains her motivation for leaving:

“When I lost my son I was so afraid for the others. It is not for me I travel – I travel for my sons, to give them life.” Read the full story here.

Although the influx of refugees to the Mediterranean has slowed from 2015, over 7,700 asylum-seekers arrived in Greece in 2017 alone (June 2017 data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). A cooperative hostel in Athens offers hope for refugees arriving desperate on the sands of Greece.

Welcommon, a name inspired by the facility’s mission to “welcome in common,” operates as a cooperative hostel that provides temporary accommodation for and promotes the social inclusion of refugees. It was designed by the Greek Forum of Refugees, the Greek Forum of Migrants, and the ANASA Cultural Centre and created by the social cooperative Wind of Renewal and the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency. The hostel first hosted refugees in October of 2016 and has since hosted 448 refugees.

Welcommon hostel provides refugees with safe accommodations, three meals per day, psychosocial support, and assistance with social and cultural integration. Children are placed in the Greek formal education system, and professionals work to empower newly single parents to be able to provide proper care for their children in an unfamiliar environment.

In addition to its dedication and service to refugees, Welcommon exemplifies how the integration of asylum-seekers positively benefits the host community by creating new jobs – the facility employs 30 professionals from diverse industries – and boosting the local economy. The positive community impact of the cooperative hostel continues to grow.

In June, Welcommon was distinguished by the Reves Excellent Award 2017 for its achievement in cooperation.

Welcommon creates peace in a world of violence and chaos, by providing a space for refugees to grieve, heal, and move forward. Join in the effort to resettle refugees by donating to the UN Refugee Agency, with which Welcommon works in tandem.