"Melissa Network’s innovative approach to integration has been selected among best practices in Europe by Filia Stiftung and UN Women.
WHO? Melissa Network of Migrant Women in Greece
WHEN? Since September 2014 (day-centre operating since July 2015)
WHERE? Athens, Greece
WHAT? Melissa is a grassroots initiative and was founded as a civil non-profit partnership in September 2014. It was created with the direct involvement of migrant women leaders and is aimed at women from over forty different countries, who live and work in Greece. The name “Melissa” stems from the Greek word for honey-bee as the migrant women see themselves as hard-working bees. They come from all over the world, bringing skills and talents, dreams and ideas, unique stories and extraordinary strengths. The name emphasises a positive view of migrant women who are agents of change in their own lives, their families, their communities, as well as for the society that hosts them. Despite the adversities that they have faced and continue to face in the current crisis, migrant and refugee women are multipliers and integrators: what they create with their work, their dedication, their talents, their efforts and ambitions, contributes to the host society in countless visible and invisible ways.
Melissa’s three main functions are: a) networking among the migrant women’s groups and creating bonds with the host society, b) capacity-building through skill-sharing and expert support, and c) advocacy and the promotion of positive role models. The Melissa Day Centre opened its doors in July 2015 as a newly opened hub where migrant and refugee women can meet, share and support each other in the pursuit of their common goals. One of the Centre’s most successful initiatives is the “Alef” project, a community integration pathway for newly arrived female refugees. The project is funded by Mercy Corps and supported by the municipality of Athens."
(Published December 2016