About Us

ELEA (Ελαία) is the ancient Greek word for Olive Tree

The name was chosen because the olive tree represents peace, honour, strong roots, long duration and it’s an inseparable part of Greece. In the ancient times, Olympic champions were honoured with a crown made of an olive branch while peace was also sealed through the exchange of an olive branch between enemies. After the name Project Elea was chosen for the group, we found out that we would be based at the ELEONAS camp which in turn, means Olive Grove!

Project Elea

Project Elea is a group of volunteers from around the world who have come together to work collaboratively with the residents of Eleonas Refugee Camp in Athens to improve living standards and community well-being. Approved by the Greek Ministry of Migration and working independently within the camp, the project is a long-term one. In addition to providing basic services such as food & clothing distribution enormous emphasis goes into creative engagement through a varied schedule of activities (10-12 per day) focusing on education, sports, culture, environment and skill-sharing for both children and adults. The objective is to make the endless time residents spent at the camp more pleasant, positive and productive. Our vision is to help create an environment of peace, stability, with a strong sense of community and pride as well as to empower the refugees to stand on their feet so that they can begin rebuilding their lives and their families on solid foundations, with hope and inspiration for the future.

Project Elea provides: 

  • food & clothing distribution
  • creative engagement
  • sports activities
  • a culture centre
  • playground
  • activities for children
  • skill-sharing workshops
  • basic infrastructure improvements
  • storage management
  • waste management & recycling

Eleonas Refugee Camp

Eleonas is a government-run camp, supervised by the Greek Migration Ministry, it was the first camp to open on mainland Greece in August 2015. The centre is open and, while access is restricted to outsiders, the residents  are free to enter and exit as they wish. Its proximity to the centre of Athens means access to services and to a vibrant city, one of the reasons why Eleonas Refugee Camp will most likely continue to exit for as long as there are refugees housed in camps. The accommodation units are metallic containers which are generally considered to provide a better level of housing compared to other camps in the Greece and elsewhere. The population currently stands at about 2300 people of various nationalities. Their basic needs in terms of security, housing and medical attention are provided for by the Greek authorities and some of the large NGOs, but otherwise there are dramatic needs that the Project Elea team is attempting to cover and which can be found in detail under Current Actions.