Journal of Refugee & Global Health


Medicins sans Frontiers estimates that twenty-five per cent of new asylum-seeking arrivals in Athens in 2016 were women [1]. Despite the sizable number of women asylum seekers arriving in Athens, women’s voices are often excluded from research on refugee needs. This research sought to understand the needs of women asylum seekers in Athens through the collection of qualitative data on their needs and experiences upon arriving in Athens. Twelve women from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries (background withheld for confidentiality) participated. The sampled women demonstrated an acute understanding of their own needs and the needs of their communities. While many of the women expressed that their own greatest needs at the time of the interviews related to self-sufficiency, they also reflected on their past experiences and daily observations to inform their understandings of the needs of their communities. Although perceived community needs varied based on whether women perceived their communities as permanent or transitory in Athens, unmet basic needs, especially housing, were a theme across women’s responses. The study’s findings also indicate that it would be beneficial for refugee support ecosystems in Greece to shift from a needs-based approach to refugee support to a rights-based approach and that further research into the needs of women refugees in Athens may help shed light on durable solutions for this population.


Support for this research was provided by the Rotary Peace Fellowship



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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