Action for Women has been active in Greece since January 2016. We began with a women’s safe space on the Aegean island of Chios, welcoming new arrivals on the island, to establishing a holistic protection and empowerment programme in Athens supporting those who want to create a new life in Greece. Three women, all with experience of working on women’s rights programming and advocacy and with an understanding of both the Greek context and the context of the countries from which women have fled, got together to reflect on what was working in the Greece refugee response, and what was not, what the gaps were and what more could be done.
From the women who have passed through our doors, and inspired us with their resilience in Chios and Athens, we looked at what they needed: it was clear that more needed to be done to support women at risk of gender-based violence, and who were survivors, with holistic, sustained care for their recovery, resilience and re-integration.
Atalanti, Gabrielle and Nina launched The Pomegranate Project to respond differently, to the now different needs of women who were no longer transiting through Greece but remaining in Greece, who need support and care to find homes, jobs, access to services and make new connections and friendships with other women from both the Greek and refugee communities.
We hope you will join us in our mission to do better for women at risk, and survivors of GBV.
Gabrielle Tay: a women’s rights activist and programme manager who has been working with women on the move on the Balkan route, in Italy and in Greece since 2016 where she has been listening to, and responding to the needs of refugee and asylum-seeking women first in Chios and then Athens.
Nina Gora: a women’s rights specialist with over a decade of working on gender equality with NGOs and INGOs across multiple humanitarian responses, including in Afghanistan, the Syria refugee response in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Somalia. She worked in the Greece refugee response as Gender and Protection Lead with Oxfam and is currently global Head of Gender Equality in Humanitarian with an international organisation.
Atalanti Hadjipateras Moquette: a women’s rights activist, philanthropist and founder of Giving Women, providing advice to strengthen projects directed at vulnerable girls and women globally.
The day-to-day running of The Pomegranate Project is made possible through the solidarity of a team of Athens-based women of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.
Our intentional strategy is to work solely with long-term volunteers, to create a stable and consistent environment for refugee and asylum-seeking women and their children, with minimal disruption.
At the Project, we value each and every person’s contribution, and recognise the importance of providing relevant support for the team, not just with appropriate skills in order to perform their roles, but also their mental health. The team has access to free counselling sessions from our psychologist, to mitigate the impact of secondary trauma and ensure their sustained well-being. In addition team members receive regular 1:1 line management support and weekly team meetings to process internal and external events and foster robust self-care practices.
This has ensured low turnover and minimised the risk of burnout within the team which has in turn fostered a safe and stable environment for our participants, shelter residents and the children.