Since the closing of Idomeni, refugees in Northern Greece have been staying in military regulated camps. Conditions are poor, people live in small, poor quality tents with absolutely nothing to do. As if these people did not harbour enough frustration and uncertainty about their asylum procedures and suffer from past injuries and family losses; the military food has been extremely bad. It is not enough and nutrition is absolutely terrible. Refugees have repeatedly found maggots in their food and the term “macaroni, macaroni, macaroni…” has become commonplace. As a result, people have been losing weight, some have checked into hospitals with internal problems, pregnant women have stopped producing milk and children are not growing.
With a great team, and in collaboration with the community of Kalochori, (the village where camp is located), we renovated a donated building from scratch. It was falling apart. It was stacked to the roof with rubbish and it was over run with mice and rodents. Inside we have created a completely functioning kitchen, the ‘Pharma Community Kitchen’, with which we now provide a daily healthy meal at 7pm in the camp for everyone. Working with the community also gave us the opportunity to feed the homeless in Kalochori and the stray dogs. Consequently, this place has brought so much joy into the place it resides. Refugees, locals and volunteers have cooked together and learned from each other, decreasing the previous immense gap between locals and refugees in the process.
The village has received us with open arms, random people have delivered boxes stacked with vegetables, potatoes and other goodies for the camp. They have helped us out selflessly; painting the building, constructing with us and getting great deals for whatever we need. Even though everyone has been absolutely great in this journey, running a kitchen that serves 700 meals daily does have continuous costs. If you want to support this great project, please contact us or make a donation with the comment ‘Pharma’.