Athena Centre for Women, Chios

Athena is the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, handicraft and warfare, the perfect symbol for the strong female survivors landing on Chios.

Athena Centre for Women

While volunteering on Chios in early 2016, Action for Women identified the desperate need for a safe and dignified space for women.

The centre was founded on the Action for Women’s three pillars of safety, support and hope. It offers women education, information, social psychological support and a safe space to speak up about gender-based violence.

We believe in the women’s ability to draw on their own power to create change, rather than be the passive recipient of circumstance. So we take a collaborative approach, drawing up the education schedule so that it reflects the women’s feedback and wishes. Since we opened we have offered English, German, French and Greek classes, as well as Zumba, yoga, art therapy and self-defence. We have hosted experts leading seminars on topics such as sexual health, contraception, feminine hygiene and safety.

There is a room known fondly by the women of the camps as the ‘Raha’ (‘relaxation’ in Arabic), where women can socialise, knit, play music and form connections over simple refreshments.

A kitchen allows women to cook and enjoy meals together on special occasions, such as breaking the fast during Ramadam.

We also offer access to a private shower and a small office for personal conversations and legal or psychological support.

The centre is entirely staffed by volunteers who share our values.

Read the stories of some of the incredible women we’ve been honoured to meet.

This project relies on your continued support

Since opening its doors in July 2016

1,069+

Women and girls have been supported

12,919

Visits to the centre