“Strength is something that can only be transferred from one to another. You cannot strengthen someone if you don’t feel strong at the same time“, this is how Lena Zachou, a psychologist at the organization’s Solidarity Center in Athens feels and sums up the concept of empowering and supporting people from vulnerable social groups. The summer of 2019 will be the third for Lena at the Individual Counselling & Psychotherapy Service, which operates at the Athens Solidarity Center.
On World Women’s Day on March 8th, Lena wants to say a lot: “No matter which country they come from, how they have grown up if they are Christian or not, yes, women are more oppressed than men. They must deal with stereotypes and imposed social roles. Maybe in some countries, this is more obvious, but I think it is something that we, women, face in East and West, North and South, sometimes more clearly and others less; but it’s the same”.
“I have a request to make to women. I want to ask them to claim their rights and take charge and make their own decisions about their lives. And of course, if they need support to do so, they should claim it too and not hesitate!”
Lena was lucky enough to realize at a young age, what she likes: “Whatever you do, it makes sense if it’s done with people. I always had the need, the tendency to be close to people“, and this need led Eleni to choose psychology as the focus of her studies, and after her first degree, she moved abroad in order to get her master’s degree in child and adolescent psychology. Her return to her hometown, Thessaloniki, did not satisfy her professionally, and Lena dared a change.
She left from Thessaloniki and travelled to Kalymnos for work -there she witnessed the real crisis- refugees arriving to the island seeking for protection. The continuity of her journey was inevitable. A new trip from Kalymnos to Lesvos and a new job at a humanitarian organization. Her next stop was Athens; and SolidarityNow – “My job here is rewarding because I have an active role in people’s lives. My job satisfies me; I want to be with those in need. What I am doing and experiencing now is exactly what I had imagined when I was saying as a kid ‘I want to become a psychologist’“.