Honeybee in Greek is Melissa. Melissa is a network in Athens that brings women from the migrant community together to start up better and new lives in Greece. [tome_reference id=”1217″ biblio-id=”1212″]The cofounder, Nadina Christopoulou views this network as a place where women, who have a more intense time in going through the experience of migration, allows for a platform where they can learn to get through the different stages of life.[/tome_reference]
Greece is dealing with an economic crisis, and with the migration crisis, it means that the migrants face challenges in the communities they are. This is what Bohn & Karas explore, stating that [tome_reference id=”1222″ biblio-id=”1220″]“the Centre, which opened last July, has become a sanctuary for migrant women at a time when Greece finds itself at a crossroads of crises…”[/tome_reference] implying the importance of Honeybee to the women, who learn new things such as dance and languages from the Centre. They also get the comfort and love from their peers, and importantly, hope, as they meet the women who have dealt with the various stages of their lives and continue to do so as migrants in Greece. Bohn & Karas give examples of such, including [tome_reference id=”1224″ biblio-id=”1220″]“Maria Ohilebo, a Nigerian chef and one of the center’s founders…moved to Greece more than 20 years ago…many bakeries wouldn’t hire her. Now she works for a high-end pastry shop.”[/tome_reference] Maria’s story of dealing with rejections simply because she is a migrant, but later got a job and contributes to Honeybee, gives hope to these women, that they too could get something out of the poetry and theatre courses they learn from the Centre. However, Bohn & Karas do not leave out the challenges that the women face, particularly with Golden Dawn, [tome_reference id=”1225″ biblio-id=”1220″]“the xenophobic, extreme right-wing group that took 7 percent in last September’s national election and is now Greece’s third-largest party. It gained popularity in the face of an economic crisis, making migrants the scapegoats for the country’s hardships.”[/tome_reference] This means that the popular party blames the migrants for most economic if not political problems, but what Honeybee sees is that the migrants are a solution and not a problem. Bohn & Karas conclude that with shared love, as Christopoulou states, the women as well as other migrants can flourish and contribute back to the Greek community just as Maria and other women who have managed to do so.
This encouraging story of Honeybee has taught me much about the migrants’ experiences, and more so on their determination and enthusiasm to better their lives despite their current circumstances. Although it left me wondering how I could possibly impact their lives, since I am going to visit refugee camps in Greece. The root issues of rejections and insecurity are much larger than I am, more difficult to tackle. Proper impact also requires time, even within Honeybee. But Christopoulou has reminded not just myself, but other readers too, that shared love has immense impact, and that is what my classmates and I should seek out to do.