Following the closure of Souda camp in July 2017, the refugees were transferred to Vial, located over seven kilometers outside central Chios. The camp has experienced tremendous overcrowding and the limited bus service provided was always overwhelmed with demand. Women and children bear the brunt and stress as it was almost impossible and we saw attendance at our Athena Centre for Women drop. We received consistent reports of their failed attempts to gain access to essential services in the city centre, being pushed aside and even being sexually harassed.
The answer was as simple as a bus journey – transportation, a daily essential which many of us take for granted. We launched a twice-daily all-women bus services, which allowed women and girls to safely, comfortably and reliably access the medical, legal, psychosocial services provided at our Athena Centre for Women and the city’s amenities, six days a week, The bus became a critically important component of our work on Chios.