Moving Cities
Inspiring Approaches

TilosBroad participation in the local society

What is inspiring?

In a period when most other Greek cities were treating refugees as an unwanted problem, the residents and authorities of Tilos insisted on welcoming refugees and including them in the social and economic life of their small community. Refugee housing on Tilos is located within the village in the harbour of Livadia. Refugees are not confined to the compound, but use the same public spaces, beaches and cafés as locals.

How does it operate?

The project was created by the Solidarity Now organisation and is not only concerned with accommodation, but also with teaching Greek and English to both children and adults. It also provides art and music lessons. The children, for example, train and play in the local football team. The choir of the island includes both children and adults.

What is the outcome?

In September 2020, taking a clear stance against prevailing national anti-refugee public discourse and policies, Tilos celebrated the enrolment of refugee children at the local school. The picture of the 11 children from Congo, Syria, Palestine and Sudan in front of the school entrance became a topic in local media, provoking many positive comments, in addition to some negative responses. Maria Kamma-Aliferi responded: “I thought we had moved past that as a society. These negative comments do not affect us. We know what we are doing, why we do it, and we are committed to carrying on doing it.”

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