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Witnessing travels to City Plaza Hotel in Athens, Greece

Cameras in the hands of refugee women

In December PROOF partnered with acclaimed photographer Janette Beckman and traveled to Athens to do a photo workshop with women refugees who live in the anarchist run City Plaza Hotel. We taught them how to take a good photo and gave them cameras, kindly sponsored by Fuji, to document their lives. The City Plaza Hotel in Athens, Greece, had been closed for years when it was taken over in April 2016 to create shelter and safety for the influx of refugees - 400 stranded people suddenly had a home.

Since that time, the community within City Plaza has grown. Its residents hail from a dozen countries and abide by a behavior code that has zero tolerance for sexism, racism or abuse. City Plaza has a clinic, a cafeteria and multiple classes that individuals and families can enjoy. All of the children attend Greek schools and many of the adults work. Volunteers stream through each year and this past December 2017, PROOF worked with a group of women, eager to learn more about photography and storytelling.

Due to safety concerns for the women, PROOF is not permitted to exhibit the photographs that were taken, the real-life stories that were shared have provided us with invaluable insights…information that will allow us to effect real change when it comes to creating best practices in human rights and refugee advocacy.