Community kinship is the foundation upon which all improvements to life on site rests.
The relationship between residents and responders is an integral component of any refugee reception centre. Elpída Home, has developed this further by exploring various ways of producing co-design and co-implementation of policies and systems.
Residents are encouraged to take an active role in camp life from cleaning to policy making. A resident council meets with staff regularly, weekly community meetings keep communication clear and open, and residents who participate in camp operation are also included in sector-specific meetings and decision-making. While services, upon launch, are primarily operated by volunteers and staff, residents are invited to participate and eventually operate the systems. At the moment, food distribution and the communal kitchen at Elpída are managed autonomously by residents.
Elpída Home management do not dictate to residents what they need, but rather work with them to assess and facilitate. To this end, we have a dedicated Community Liaison Officer, a native Arabic speaker who acts as a constant link to represent the needs of the residents at all times, and ensure effective communication.
The Community Council is comprised of leading members of the resident community who work with the Elpida management team. The approach not only helps ensure that the concern of residents are addressed in decision-making, but also as a mean of diffusing information to the broader community.
We encourage and inspire as much input from the community as possible, and not just at the leadership level. Residents monitor their own cleaning schedules in the kitchen, assist with sorting clothes and distributions and welcome the new arriving families. Elpída Home is a home that the residents have investment and input in.
Many of the residents who have sought refuge in Greece, and all over the world, are skilled professionals with years of experience. At Elpída, Arabic classes are led by Syrian teachers every morning. In the medical clinic, a Syrian physician regularly treats his patients, whilst medical translators are two dedicated residents.