ATLAS (Aid To LGBTQ Asylum Seekers) is a project geared specifically to address the unique needs of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers in Greece and overseas. They offer a single point of contact through their professionally-trained helpline volunteers who are able to answer in English, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Greek and French.
Through the helpline they have been in contact with many LGBTQI people of numerous different nationalities in Mainland Greece, islands such as Samos, Lesvos and Chios, as well as in their home countries. For each case ATLAS keep detailed case files where each interaction is logged.
ATLAS have helped people who are dealing with extreme physical and psychological abuse because of their sexuality, and have helped vulnerable people without shelter or assistance in numerous ways, such as providing access through their network of contacts to counselling, sexual health services, food, clothes and shelter; they also help people find LGBTQ-sensitive lawyers and translators. The team keep a detailed record of people and organisations they know to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of LGBTQI refugees, and use a well-researched referral system to ensure refugees receive appropriate and timely assistance.
The following is a list of some of the services they have provided, and continue to provide access to for LGBTQI refugees:
– Legal advice
– Counselling services
– Medical help and sexual health education
– Free HIV and STD testing
– Education Courses and social activities
-A safe space in Central Athens (between 10am – 10pm, Monday – Saturday where there is free wifi, laptops for use, a selection of books, and a safe social environment).
ATLAS hope to expand their project considerably in the near future, by increasing outreach and advocacy programs and widening their network of contacts. They also hope to provide information to volunteers, NGO staff, translators and other refugees about the specific needs of LGBTQI refugees, as well as a sensitisation program to ensure they are aware of the legal status of LGBTQI people in Europe.
We will be sponsoring the outreach program that ATLAS offers for this particularly vulnerable group of people all over Greece, and in the refugee camps and squats.
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