‘The human heart is surviving’: the woman giving sanctuary to refugees in Lesbos

Thanasis Gavos   Wed, 7 Sep 2016; 10:18

“Leaving the refugees unprotected means you leave your country and society unprotected, and we have to do something,” says Efi Latsoudi, a Lesbos resident who’s seen her hometown engulfed by the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.

Originally from Athens, the 48-year-old human rights activist moved to the Greek island in 2001, and for the past four years has been one of the founders and administrators of an open, self-organised refugee camp, Pikpa. The camp has been run, through all the tumult of the last few years, entirely on the efforts of volunteers and donations.

Pikpa, on the south-east corner of the island, grew out of a solidarity network of local NGOs and volunteers, and started sheltering refugees in 2012. Though the Greeks have been hit by their own economic crisis for eight years, many such as Latsoudi have re-focused their worries on alleviating the urgent needs of refugees.

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