KHORA is a humanitarian co-operative foundation based in Athens, Greece. We are a group of experienced volunteers who have been working for other organisations around Europe focusing on the provision of services for refugees. We are responding to this humanitarian crisis that is affecting those forced from their homes by war, poverty and climate change.
Khora was created by a collective of individuals who met on Lesvos while working with Skipchen and Better Days For Moria and decided to bring our skills together. As individuals we have been on the ground in Calais, Serbia, Lesvos and Athens since the refugee crisis escalated in 2015.
As a group our skill set and experience is wide ranging and includes international development, project management, mental health, support work, building and teaching. Together we possess the skills necessary for establishing successful and sustainable projects that help thousands of refugees living far away from their home countries.
Khora is a multifaceted word with many meanings. The meaning we take from it is a ‘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.
Where we are from
We are an international collective and our group changes frequently. The current co-operative is made up of people from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, Iran, Morocco, Portugal, Syria, Switzerland, UK and the USA. Some members of our group have freedom of movement but some do not. In the knowledge that this could create a difficult power dynamic within our community, we work to ensure that everyone is treated equally while acknowledging that some people have more pressing priorities than the daily work schedule.
The original collective formed after meeting on Lesvos. We came together from Better Days for Moria, No Borders Camp, Skipchen and the refugee community.
Better Days for Moria was a self-organised camp outside Moria registration (now detention) camp. They provided clothes, food, medical care, accommodation, legal support and information to the people arriving by boat from Turkey who would otherwise have been homeless, as there was no state provision for them.
No Borders Camp was a self-organised camp in Mytilene which provided clothes, food, accommodation and solidarity to people arriving on Lesvos and also supported them while they waited to move on.
Skipchen was a waste food kitchen from Bristol, England, which came to Lesvos and provided food in the Better Days for Moria Camp.
Many of the people from the refugee community we have worked with in Athens, we also worked with on Lesvos and these are long standing and important relationships for us.
We come from a diverse range of cultural and political backgrounds and traditions. Instead of seeing this as a negative which could divide us, we view it as a positive model of collective co-working. We have all made compromises in our individual political and social ideals to work together and this has been an enriching learning process. In the context of this situation 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.