During 2015 and 2016 NAOMI ran a kitchen in the Idomeni refugee camp at the border crossing between Greece and North Macedonia, where we supplied hot food to all comers. The camp came into being and grew because the border had been closed and there was nowhere else for the refugees to go North. In June 2016 the police cleared the camp forcibly and all the UNHCR blankets were to be dumped or destroyed by a refuse disposal service. However our volunteers set about collecting and cleaning the blankets in order to turn them into jackets and waistcoats, whereby a laundry company saved 10,000 blankets by stone washing them. These, they now deliver to NAOMI as required, and so far 5,000 blankets have been processed.
The Remember Idomeni Line was born, a collection of jackets, waistcoats and hats to which we later added the beautiful small bags and pouches.
One of NAOMI’s aims in all this is that the indefensible standards in the refugee camps be not forgotten: Idomeni, like Moria, exemplifies the suffering and inhuman living conditions enforced upon refugees in Greece.
On the other hand, by reusing the textiles, NAOMI makes an important contribution to environmental protection and reduces the consumption of natural resources. Finally, at NAOMI refugees enjoy fair conditions of employment and earn an income. For many this is a first step towards an independent life and their place in society. NAOMI is for them a ray of hope in dark times.