Solidarity Now is a growing network of people and organisations working together to support those hardest hit by the crisis in Greece.
We believe that to emerge from this crisis, Europe must reclaim its vision of a community based on solidarity.
Solidarity Now supports civil society groups working in Greece and is setting up Solidarity Centres—a place for everyone in Greece affected by the crisis to gather and find solutions to shared problems.
Established by the Open Society Foundations, Solidarity Now is a collaborative funding initiative, including small donations from people around Europe and larger contributions from philanthropies and individuals.
Solidarity Centres will offer space to new and existing civil society organisations in Greece, facilitating cooperative community solutions to pressing social and economic problems. Each locally run Centre will address the unique needs of its community. Essential services provided at Solidarity Centres may include health, heating, housing, legal aid, job-seeking assistance, and support for vulnerable groups including the elderly, the sick, migrants, and asylum seekers.
These are the people hardest hit by Greece’s economic austerity program:
The workers who pay payroll taxes. The unemployed and homeless. The pensioners and bankrupted small business owners. The malnourished children. The pupils shivering in unheated classrooms. The young people who lack jobs. The mentally and physically disabled. Elderly people too frail to support themselves. Patients in hospitals suffering shortages of basic medical supplies. Migrants and asylum seekers suffering in wretched detention centers.
Theirs are not stories of despair or submission.
Real stories. Real people. Meet some of the men and women in Greece whose everyday compassion is building a stronger country. Share these stories with your family and friends.
Faced with rising economic privations and the collapse of the social safety net, Greeks have rallied by volunteering in their local communities. Many serve food to the hungry at local soup kitchens, doctors work second shifts at medical clinics for migrants, and mothers collect food and clothing for shelters.
Greece's universal health care system collapsed in 2011. Many Greeks, suddenly impoverished and unemployed, cannot afford the new fees levied by public hospitals and forgo medical care. Some doctors have set up underground networks to help the uninsured, but these clinics cannot sustain the hundreds of thousands who lack health insurance.
Since the crisis, homelessness has soared by 25 percent. Those who do have shelter struggle to pay their rent or mortgages. Even staying warm is a challenge. Taxes on heating oil have increased more then 450 percent, and many Greeks are barely able to keep warm. The return to wood heat has led people to cut down trees in national parks and increased pollution in cities.
Unemployment in Greece has soared to 27 percent, with more than 60 percent of youth without jobs, and one out of every three Greek households is living in poverty. As people struggle to find jobs, extreme right-wing groups like Golden Dawn have fed on social tensions, blaming migrants and inciting attacks.
Young people in Greece face a bleak future, with more than 60 percent of them unemployed. Aspiring Greek doctors, teachers, and engineers—a whole generation of the country's highly skilled university graduates—are now leaving the country, unable to make ends meet at home.
We believe that to emerge from this crisis, Europe must reclaim its vision of a community based on solidarity. Join the growing network of individuals and organizations working together to support those hardest hit by the economic crisis in Greece.