A House for displaced women.
AMINA is the SAO Community- and Empowerment Centre for women refugees in Athens. At AMINA we support and encourage displaced women in taking their next steps towards integration. AMINA Centre is welcoming especially most vulnerable, disabled and old women – with or without children. Now please help the women taking their fate in their own hands again.
SAO was born out of necessity and created from practically nothing. It started with a private initiative by Raquel Herzog who went to Lesvos as a volunteer in December 2015, after having seen the picture of Aylan Kurdi, the little boy drown in the sea at the shore of Lesvos Island. In February 2016 she founded SAO. In 2017 we focused entirely on women and the three programs BASHIRA, AMINA and BACK ON TRACK.
These are the three pillars of SAO: two women centres (run as day-care-centres) and a study program. In other words: we provide immediate assistance at Bashira Community- and Empowerment Centre for women who are stuck at Moria dentention camp on Lesvos; continuing assistance at Amina Community- and Empowerment-Centre for women who have made it to the Greek mainland and are waiting in Athens for their definitive admission to Greece or for family reunification in another European country. Forward-looking we work with the study program Back on Track so that the women who had to interrupt their education because of the flight can finish their studies in the country which has definitely admitted them.
SAO started small and has grown – from a private initiative to an association, from an association to a NGO and from a NGO to relief organisation. We are eight business- and professional women on the Executive Board, all of us working voluntarily, also our manager: Raquel Herzog, Marina Villa, Ursula Hess, Claudia Weber, Claudia Colic, Nic Kleiber, Simone Inversini and Christine Loriol. Also, Raffaella Pearce (Assistant to the Management), Marianne Läderach (Projectmanager Crowdfunding) and Sophia Ding (Program manager Back on Track) support us unsalaried.
And this is, why we do it: We are all privileged. We have mothers, grandmothers and maybe also daughters or sisters. We are aunt, godfather, friend or girlfriend, grandpa, father, brother or son. We – women and men – lead a good life in Switzerland and are well networked and connected with many other privileged people. We are committed to women and children on the run who had to leave everything behind. This is our contribution. Who, if not us?
Working towards integration.
Displaced women, who will stay in Greece for a long time or even forever, are actively supported in their process of integration: with acces to important information, Greek and English lessons, workshops and also support in legal, health care and psychological matters.
With your contribution we can finance among others: our translators, laguage teachers and psychologists, the complete operating of the house and the fair wages we pay to our fantastic employees on the ground. We are extremely careful with our financial means, nevertheless there are also costs for background work. With your contribution you may for example provide enough school material, sugar, tea and biscuits. And we are in urgent need of more sewing machines and fabrics, painting material (canvases, oil and water paint, charcoal, coloured pencils, paper, brushes), knitting and crochet needles, wool, threads and beads, pampers and sanitary towels, blankets, children and baby clothes. Whenever possible, we do not transport goods across Europe but buy them at Greek people’s shops in Athens – with exceptions, e.g. when we were given a complete classroom interior.
With a little help from our Friends – and from YOU!
AMINA is well set up and connected, led by qualified women, and it has been in great demand since it’s first day of operation. Now AMINA needs to gain momentum in terms of money to get into full swing. We can make a huge step further with your help.
Thank you to everybody who is helping SAO and AMINA - especially our «Friends of SAO»: David Allemann, Dead Milly, Regula Esposito v/o Helga Schneider, Peter Gamma und HAUTE, Isabela Gygax, Meta Hildebrand, Christopher Hux and his colleagues from the Zurich Opera house chorus, Markus Imhoof and Frenetic Film Distribution, Monica Kissling, Clifford Lilley, Roman Kilchsberger and Bernhard Russi. They all contribute gifts for this crowdfunding or are performing at our charity matinee at the MOODS Jazz Club on Sunday November 18 (register via link below, please!)
We love you all!