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Inside Amina - Part I

A few weeks ago, we asked the SAO online community what you would like to know about SAO’s work in the Amina Centre in Athens. Some of these questions are answered below by Olga and Barbara from SAO. Learn what makes SAO’s work in Athens special and what it takes to create a safe space for displaced women who come from diverse cultural backgrounds.


What exactly does SAO do in Athens?

O: SAO operates the Amina Centre in Athens. Amina is a community day center for displaced women. We assist women through our psychosocial program. Among others, a social worker, a psychologist and a teacher, who offers informal Greek lessons, work at the centre. Furthermore, our interpreters serve as a bridge of communication, thus representing an essential part of our program. At Amina, we empower women and give integrational assistance. We offer not only professional psychological support but also a safe environment where the women can relax and enjoy calmness.

B: Our activities are primarily based on the needs of the women. In addition, we constantly adapt the program to the circumstances and seasons.

O: In case we cannot meet all of the women’s needs, we have established an extensive community network. Thanks to this, we can provide the women with the appropriate contacts and, with their consent, create a suitable referral path.

How is SAO‘s work different from the work of other organisations?

B: We start to support women from day one and accompany them on their way. We assist our beneficiaries as long as they wish. What also distinguishes us from other organisations is that the Amina Centre is a place where only women can enter.

O: The women can visit Amina every day. Not only do they receive professional psychosocial support, but they also become members of an active community. We encourage them to collaborate and co-organise activities and events.

You receive women from many different nations with different cultural backgrounds. How do you deal with this challenge?

O: We all need to bring an openness to different cultures and be culturally competent. This means that we must be open, respect other people’s cultural background and know how to communicate with them so that we can develop a common language.

B: Exactly, I think that is the most important point: We need to create a link between nationalities. And there is already something that all Amina’s visitors have in common; namely the fact that they are displaced women living in a foreign country. For us, it is important that we show respect to everyone, do not discriminate against anyone and act inclusively. These are our principles. And this is also reflected by the women of the Amina Centre: When we receive a woman from a cultural background we do not know, we do our best to learn about that culture. In every culture there are similarities – we encourage discovering them.


Olga (on the left) und Barbara (on the right) of SAO answer the questions of the community about the Amina Centre.

In the second part of the Q&A blog series, you will learn about the challenging situations the SAO Hellas team is confronted with and the beautiful experiences that enrich daily life at Amina Centre. Stay tuned: Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and subscribe to our newsletter.


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