The Unmentionables first began their work in Greece in response to the Middle East and North African refugee crisis. Official statistics state that there are 86,600 refugees and migrants in Greece, with over 45,000 suspected to be stranded in the country.
Athens has remained the hub for The Unmentionables’ Smart Aid Model. Its centralized location and the prevalence of like-minded agencies help provide wrap-around services, as well as help facilitate meeting the intimate hygiene needs of refugees living in an urban context, remote camps, and unofficial squats.
The Unmentionables Resource Center
On 13 January, 2018, funded by a generous donation from the organization’s lead ambassador Kimora Lee Simmons, The Unmentionables opened a resource and education center in Athens. This center is a space where refugees can attend free sexual and reproductive health workshops, consult with medical professionals, as well as access a free shop filled with intimate health and hygiene products in a safe, culturally-adapted, and gender-specific environment.
With the opening of the center, The Unmentionables launched a 12-week training program to educate leaders within the local refugee community on comprehensive sexual and reproductive education. The refugee men and women who have completed the training will become intimate health education leaders in their own communities.
The center also showcases pictures taken from refugee participants of The Unmentionables’ UnExposed project in one of two galleries.
The island of Chios, a mere four miles from Turkey, was The Unmentionables’ island hub. In 2017, however, Souda refugee camp was closed down by local authorities and its inhabitants moved to the government-operate Vial camp, reducing the capacity at which we can support the displaced communities there. While we hope to continue our work on Chios and surrounding islands, our main focus at this time is Athens.
Partners and Needs Assessment
Our in-country vendors for the 'unmentionable’ products are located in Athens, keeping logistical costs to a minimum. Through bulk purchasing locally, our vendors provide us with the best prices possible, ensuring we can maximize donations and facilitate relationship-building between refugees and the local economy.
The Unmentionables' Needs Assessment provides us with a snapshot of the product types, sizes, styles, and preferences of the refugee populations we serve in an anonymous survey distributed through our partners in Athens. These needs assessments are accessible in English, Arabic, Farsi, and French, and provide us with data that informs our purchasing, ensuring that we never purchase or distribute unwanted or unneeded products.