The first "solidarity restaurant " of Sant'Egidio for refugees opens in LesbosLesbos Humanitarian emergenciesMIGRANTS#santegidiosummer
It opened with a big party for the Aid el Adha - a traditional dinner based on lamb - the first "solidarity restaurant" of Sant'Egidio for the refugees who "stay", sometimes for years, on the Greek island.
About 350 people - mostly families with very young children from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria - were allowed to leave the Moria refugee camp, where there has been a severe lockdown for several months, to attend the dinner.
Sant'Egidio has actually obtained that in the month of August, every day a quota of at least 300 refugees can leave the camp to participate in the activities organized by the Community volunteers, a group of people from different European countries. An old oil mill has been set up, a large stone building facing the sea, where, in addition to dinners, there will also be an English course for adults and activities of the School of Peace for children.
Everything takes place in strict compliance with anti-Covid regulations, but in a truly festive atmosphere: the gratitude which can be seen on the faces of the refugees - many of whom ask to help and collaborate in the service, proudly wearing the blue vest with the Sant'Egidio logo - helps to overcome language barriers.
In Lesbos there are currently about 15,000 refugees, many of whom "trapped" on the island for years, living in dramatic conditions in the formal and informal camps of Moria. Many NGOs suspended their activities and left the island in the last months as episodes of intolerance and violence against them had been proliferating. Also for this reason the presence of Sant'Egidio, a sign of a loyalty that speaks of stability to dramatically unstable lives, is encouraging hope.