From Women Space to Eco Salon: Culture and empowerment in Polykastro

A safe space for processing one’s own experiences, an opportunity for personal growth, and an exchange between different cultures; all of these, and so much more, are what OCC’s Women Space represents for many women living in the area of Polykastro, of all ages, religions, and nationalities. Indeed, as the organization’s main goal is to promote the integration of refugees into the Greek society, the space soon opened to welcome local women, becoming a point of cultural exchange, where multiple worlds can engage in mutual learning regarding the various conceptions and experiences of womanhood.

Photo: Open Cultural Center

Moreover, the European Commission could not avoid recognizing the full potential of this space, and has, therefore, decided to financially support Open Cultural Center in the development of the new project called Eco Salon. More particularly, Eco Salon officially started in April 2021 and its focus has been to contribute to the women’s well-being, in all its dimensions, aimed through physical, cultural, and emotional self-care activities.

During the time spent with the volunteers, the attendees pursued their inner well-being – among others – through meditation, yoga, and stretching, experimented with the creation of natural skincare products, and improved their ability in the kitchen through workshops of cooking and baking, but also through experimenting with activities traditionally stereotyped as “male stuff”, such as football and bikes: thanks to volunteers’ help, not only did many women learn how to ride a bike but also acquired basic fixing skills for minor damages.

Following a prolonged period of online activities due to the pandemic, the Women Space facilitators are now ready to welcome back whoever is interested in discussing and being involved in empowering and joyful activities.