It was a night to remember in Choudetsi, a small village in Crete.
Refugees, beneficiaries of the ESTIA Programme that live in apartments in Heraklion, and locals shared food from their countries and Cretan traditional dishes in a big feast at the yard of the village’s elementary school.
The multicultural event that brought together locals and refugees was organized by the Heraklion Development Agency, UNHCR’s partner on the ESTIA programme, in cooperation with the Municipality of Archanes and the Choudetsi Cultural Centre. Most of the refugee families that live in Heraklion arrived in Choudetsi bringing traditional treats they had cooked from Iran, Palestine and Syria. Combined with the Cretan dishes that were also offered, a great feast was created. In one corner of the school yard the students of Labyrinth Musical Workshop played music from around the world for children and adults. In the small garden a playground was created where small children that were playing and laughing during the entire evening, enjoyed recreational and cultural activities.
Together with locals and refugees, the mayors of Heraklion and Arhanes, Vassilis Lamprinos and Manolis Kokosalis, Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Representative in Greece and Nikos Igoumenidis , local SYRIZA MP, enjoyed the hospitality of locals and refugees.
As the night fell, everyone moved to Kipos to attend a concert with Arabic, Iranian, Azerbaijani and Afghani sounds at the music festival organized by the Music Laboratory Labyrinth.
As of August 17, Heraklion has welcomed 111 refugees. They are mainly families that live in 27 apartments and receive cash card assistance through the ESTIA programme, funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.