Wheels of Hope

ATHENS, GREECE - We’ve organised this fundraiser for a reliable vehicle to benefit the transportation needs of Cecilia, as well as the needs of the refugee women and families she serves. 

The work Cecilia does is volunteer-based, and relies heavily on the generosity of others. We would be so grateful for your help as we raise funds for a 7-seater vehicle that can accommodate at least 2 families with children. 

Six years ago, a friend, who was returning to the US, gave her their car to use.  The car is 16 years old, and while it has been a great resource for her work, in the last 2 years she’s found herself at the mechanic more often than not.  At this point, her car is no longer fit to drive, and she’s borrowing a car to make the 50 mile round-trip to Lavrio for work.  Cecilia is so in need of a new, and larger, vehicle.

Cecilia’s Work

The seed for weaving was planted in my heart by a friend who visited the sewing project I was working with.  At the time, she challenged me to consider incorporating the art of weaving.  A year after this seed took root, I owned a floor loom and have since attended weaving workshops in Tuscany  Italy and Philadelphia PA USA, and has enrolled in online Weaving Guilds in the USA and Canada.

In 2018 floor looms were generously donated to set up a workshop, in Lavrio, where I teach Syrian and Afghanistan refugees the art of weaving and sewing.  My goal has been to create a place of training and employment to earn an income.

It’s such an honour to work with these beautiful people, and to partner with NGO’s and others to provide training and work, as well as friendship and community.  Our priority is to create relationships and we’re involved in many aspects of the lives of those we serve. We help with integration into the local community, assist with finding housing and helping to furnish a home, provide transportation to appointments and events, and are there as a friend for coffee, a visit, or whatever is needed.

Together, we aim to improve stability for the women we work with.  Not only to provide income and a pay cheque, but for the hope that they’ll gain vision and courage to plan for the future.

Cecilia’s Story 

The work I do is volunteer-based and relies on the generosity and hearts of the people who are a part of my life journey.  Originally from Zimbabwe, I’ve been involved in wholistic humanitarian work that has taken me to a number of countries in Southern and North Africa, Central Asia, and now Western Europe.  Athens, Greece has been my home for the last 11 years.

Whether through the trauma of human trafficking, or as refugees who have endured the trauma of war and calamity, it’s my strong belief and passion that we all have the power to contribute to, and create, a future vision.  Through my work with organisations, past and present, I’ve had the honour to equip women with skills they were able to use to find employment that restored their dignity and provided for their families.

Refugee Crisis in Greece

Since 2015 Europe, and specifically Greece, has seen an increase in its refugee population due to continued unrest in the Middle East and parts of Africa.  At the beginning of this “New Wave” there was much hope and cooperation among European countries that gave the appearance that resettlement, and some sort of stability, was possible in the near future. Sadly, over the past 5 years, this process has shown itself to be far from easy and has left large populations of refugees in limbo waiting for paperwork, visa appointments, and most elusively sustainable job opportunities.

Currently the refugee population in Greece has reached over 120,000 (May 2020), of whom about 80,000 are on the mainland while another 40,000 are on the islands. Over half of these numbers represent women and children with many traveling alone.

With so many refugees landing in country, Greece’s economic crisis continues while the unemployment rate has steadily increased to over 18% among adults and a rate of 37% for youth ages 15-24.  In response, the creation of civil companies and promotion of entrepreneurship among migrant and refugee populations has begun to receive attention from both government-based programs and developmental NGO’s throughout Europe.

Leadership among these groups has begun to recognise that migrants and refugees cannot only have a positive influence on their host countries but can even begin to make a contribution toward their economic growth. It’s within this framework that I, and others, function and work at providing a platform for this vulnerable group to develop skills and pursue meaningful, sustainable work.

To learn more visit www.cloth-and-hope.org .



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Organizer and beneficiary

Delta Philanthropies 
Organizer
Dickson Minto W S, Greater London, United Kingdom
Fungisai Chavunduka 
Beneficiary

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