A short film by Christos Sarris
Perama is the poorest neighborhood in Athens. It is located 10 miles from the city center and its’ parliament building. 45.000 people inhabit this little town in the western tip of the greater Athens area. Perama started to morph to the present sociological stratification when refugees, members of the Greek minority in Turkey, were forced to leave their households after the 1920’s war between the two countries
Due its’ proximity to the largest shipyards of the country and expertise that local workers gained over the years, unemployment was relatively low. The country was growing economically until the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004.
When international economic crisis finally hit Greece, combined with an educational structure that never received proper government funding during the prosperity years, an insufficient health and social care system, numerous union led strikes at the Zone and political corruption in every aspect and scale brought Perama and its citizens to their knees.
Greeks have been savaged and ridiculed in every possible way. There is a humanitarian crisis of a large scale behind all the economic figures and national debt of billions of Euros. People that have to live with the consequences that include increasing numbers of suicides, people suffering from depression, severe health problems due to years of working in the Zone with no safety precautions, large queues for a common meal and homeless people numbers rising even though Greek society’s traditional family bonds and topography factors would normally avert such symptoms.
This is a project to raise awareness within Greece and abroad. The worse are yet to come for this country and its’ people. There is a constant need to raise more resources for the weakest links of our society that are multiplying each day. Greeks need to feel proud of themselves again.
Victim myself of the collapse of the Mass Media “industry” I found a lot of free time in my hands and the urge to participate. The last five months I have been volunteering for the Greek branch of Doctors of the World. It all started with a call for volunteers from their PR department. Next thing I find myself helping to arrange clothing and blankets, unloading medicine and food from donors cars, keeping records, passing boxes of food to unemployed uninsured people visiting the volunteer based medical center of the Doctors in Perama. Being there helped me establish a relationship with the local community and individuals; learned a lot about the neighborhood before taking my first picture.