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Khora:About

Khora...

We believe in freedom of movement for all. We stand in solidarity with displaced people. Everyone has the right to choice, autonomy, dignity, community and the ability to access the basic means to live.

We are a self-organised collective of individuals who aim to work in a creative, flexible and non-dogmatic way. We are registered as a Greek co-operative. We work non-hierarchically using consensus decision making.

We have come together to facilitate a space where people can learn, create, socialise, relax and have access to a range of resources.

We come from a diverse range of cultural and political backgrounds and traditions. The ideas on which we all agree are the most important - that all human beings have a right to fair and equal treatment and that the current EU system is inherently violent towards particular groups.

We want to work with any projects, groups or individuals that share our aims and values.

We accept money from various sources and none of the groups that donate to us impose criteria on how we run the project. The funding we take enables us to offer a wide selection of services whilst still maintaining our autonomy. Khora is a multifaceted word with many meanings.  The meaning we take from it is ‘a radical otherness that gives place for being’.

Motive

We believe in freedom of movement for all. We stand in solidarity with displaced people. Everyone has the right to choice, autonomy, dignity, community and the ability to access the basic means to live.  We recognise that this situation has been created and perpetuated by governments and corporations who are profiting from it and we stand in opposition to them and in solidarity with all affected by it. Our aim is to create a space for international activists to come together for open discussion and dialogue. We want to reclaim our lives from the system and collectively create alternatives.

How we organise

We are a self-organised collective of individuals who aim to work in a creative, flexible and non-dogmatic way. We are registered as a Greek co-operative. We work non-hierarchically using consensus decision making. We have a variety of working groups that organise separate aspects of the project who feed into a weekly assembly. We encourage everyone involved in Khora to become familiar with this way of organising and to be part of the process. The way we organise is important to us as it inherently challenges the systems that created this situation, rather than replicating or reinforcing them. We are not an NGO, a charity or associated with government bodies.

Aims

A space where people can learn, create, socialise, relax and have access to a range of resources. Shared ownership and active involvement by those who use the space and the local community. Offer access to food, clothes, dental care, information, legal advice, education, kids activities, a women’s space, a workshop, and a safe place to spend the day.

Who we are

We come from a diverse range of cultural and political backgrounds and traditions. The ideas on which we all agree are the most important - that all human beings have a right to fair and equal treatment and that the current EU system is inherently violent towards particular groups.

We are an international collective and our group changes frequently.  This project involves people from Afghanistan, Australia, Balochistan, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Switzerland, UK and the USA.  Some of us have freedom of movement, some do not.  In the knowledge that this could create a difficult power dynamic, we work to ensure that everyone is treated equally while acknowledging that some people have more pressing priorities than the daily work schedule.

Who we collaborate with

We are self-organised and want to work with any projects, groups or individuals that share our aims and values. We believe that small grassroots projects are more effective and responsive than big organisations. Who we work with is decided on a case by case basis. Our experience has made us critical of some NGOs and large organisations for the following reasons: misuse of funds; inability to provide quick and useful responses; signing of confidentiality agreements; relationships with governments, multinationals and the EU; working relationships that create a them-and-us atmosphere; hierarchical structure; charity rather than solidarity; supporting the state rather than creating an alternative. There are some NGO’s that don’t fit this description, and in these cases we may choose to work alongside each other, however, we ask that any group working within the building does not wear clothing labelled by their organisation and that any events being publicised are not branded. We believe in offering as much information as possible to the refugee/migrant community and therefore will not withhold information about the services of NGOs, charities or government bodies. We provide a list of services and support networks available in Athens from all active groups to allow people to make their own choices about the type of help they want or need.  We do this because we believe that people have the right to make educated decisions about the support they access. We don’t want our politics to get in the way of people accessing what they need.

Funding

We accept money from various sources and none of the groups that donate to us impose criteria on how we run the project. The funding we take enables us to offer a wide selection of services whilst still maintaining our autonomy.

We have received funding from the following groups:

Dentists 4 Refugees use our dental clinic.

Giving For A Better Future, a Swiss charity.  They use our space for language classes but we are not involved with their organisation further than this or with the teachers they employ.

Help Refugees, a UK charity who support over 70 grassroots projects around Greece. They rely on private donations, using their connections to the music industry to raise funds.

Kairos Stiftung, a small Swiss foundation.

Peace Club Zurich organised a weekend of club nights, donating all profits and wages.

Smartpeace Foundation, a Swiss charity who supports projects that promote peaceful relationships between human beings, and groups of different origins, ethnicities and religions.

Swiss Counselling Service for Women Suffering from Violence (BIF)

Team Sweden donate funds and equipment for our dentist clinic.

Thighs of Steel, a self organised group who run sponsored cycle rides from London to Athens.

We also have a donate button on our page at facebook.com/KhoraAthens

We receive many independent financial donations as well as building materials, furniture, tools, food, clothes etc.

We did the construction work in the building ourselves and also build or repurpose the majority of our own furniture.

Khora is run by people giving their time because they choose to, some in exchange for food and shelter.  We aim to support people volunteering in Khora regardless of where they are from.

Four of our long term workers, from Greece and other countries, have been receiving six month stipends from Help Refugees to be able to continue working with Khora – three at 400€ and one at 600€ per month, for living expenses. This arrangement was made at the beginning of this project, to ensure there would be at least a small group of people who could commit to continuously working full-time for 6 months. This money is entirely separate from the money we receive for the building. We see this as a compromise, none of us are doing this for financial gain. We are currently rethinking this model as Khora has evolved and grown a lot since this arrangement was made.

Our name

Khora is a multifaceted word with many meanings.  The meaning we take from it is ‘a radical otherness that gives place for being’.  The current EU border system creates the illusion of the ‘other’.  It divides humans into categories of those who have freedom of movement and those who do not, those who have valuable lives and those who do not, those who have the right to make choices and those who do not.  We stand in opposition to this system and want to create a space in which all people can come together, where everyone is ‘other’ in standing against this mode of oppression and thus equal.

The building

If you come to the building (Asklipiou 80 / Tsimiski 21, Athens, 114 71, Greece), please visit our information desk to ask about dates / times and details for each space.

Our opening times are 10am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 5pm Saturday.

Everything in Khora is offered for free.

Spaces

Basement -2

Free Shop. For clothes, shoes and toiletries etc.

Basement -1

Workshop. The base for building maintenance, and where furniture is built for Khora and other projects. We offer inductions for new users and have some open hours during the week. We have tools to work with both wood and metal and some spare materials that we have taken from the streets.

Ground Floor

Information. The welcome area is the point of contact and information for the rest of the building. Legal support and access to a range of services across the city in multiple languages is available here.

Kids Space. The kids’ area offers creative play activities for children 6 years and under and allows parents to have some time out to use other areas of the building.

1st Floor

Community Kitchen and food storage.  This is where meals are cooked for the café. This space can also be used by other groups to prepare food.

2nd Floor

Café.  This is a space where everyone can sit down, eat, drink tea, relax and socialise. This is our most versatile space and is also used for events, workshops and meetings.

3rd Floor

Education and computer space. We offer adult language classes, school support for older children and computer lessons.  We also have a small library with books in multiple languages.

4th Floor

Dental Clinic. Dental care with priority given to children from the refugee community and emergencies.

Legal Support Clinic. Appointments with a team of migration lawyers, and support with preparation for asylum interviews.

5th Floor

Creative Space. This floor offers women only time, activities for older children and music lessons for all.

Communication

We aim to be completely transparent. If you or your group have any questions about who we are or what we are here to do, then please ask us.  This can either be formally in an assembly, or individually in person or online.  If you or your group decide not to work with us then please let us know why.  We accept criticism and will try to work on any points you or your group wants to raise.  We have open assemblies once a month on a Tuesday evening and advertise the dates at the community centre and on Facebook.

Contact Information