We are all humans after all…

Posted in: Quick catch up! on 28 April, 2017 by Maria

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Hey everyone,

During my participation in the project “Think Human” in Mytilene, Greece about the refugee crisis, I had the opportunity to initiate a panel discussion about gender-based violence within refugee camps. Here are some key notes on the discussion we had.

The original question was whether women are the ones who suffer the most.

-Children are a vulnerable group and as they may experience traumatic conditions, it is really hard for them to overcome it.
-A lot of psychological therapy is given to women and children and fathers are left aside. Due to patriarchal structure, the vicious circle is repeating itself, fathers experience high levels of depression and women suffer because men’s health is being neglected.
-Cultural rapes among men are accepted and men deny that this is a traumatic experience, but instead, they feel grateful that this shapes their personality.
-Transgender community asks for confidentiality.
-Young boys raped while traveling are settled in the same camps with their rapists. The system is not separating abusers and victims.
-Girls culturally must offer sex to soldiers for their soul to go to heaven.

In between, we have analyzed many specific cases concerning a variety of human beings, men, women, LGBT, young people, old people, soldiers, etc.
The topic is by far a controversial issue and we have only touched the surface of an iceberg with this conversation.

Have a lovely weekend!



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Posted in: Quick catch up! on 24 April, 2017 by Maria

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… and I keep on working… Just came back for the training course “Think Human” In Mytilene Greece about refugee crisis and I have tons of work to catch up. My university life is just suffering and I really need to start planning the end of the semester a little bit better.

Other than that, all in good and it is time for me to got to sleep 🙂



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Posted in: Quick catch up! on 21 April, 2017 by Maria

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Things to do on a Friday night…

Work, work, work! I don’t even remember when was the last time to be able to enjoy a full weekend of no worries and just relaxing. I am currently participating in the Training Course “Think Human” in Mytilene, Greece about refugee crisis and it is quite intense experience with lots of information and emotions. For this reason, work is left aside and for the past week, I haven’t been able to focus on my other duties. So here it comes. Friday night trying to catch up with work. What a lovely way to start the weekend 🙂



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Chocolate Issues!

Posted in: Quick catch up! on 19 April, 2017 by Maria

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Hey everyone, today I will write about chocolate issues 🙂

Negro balls are chocolate balls, a sort of sweet treat. In Sweden, the phrase negro balls was banned and instead, chocolate balls has replaced the term, which was considered to be racistic. Linguistically, I was inspired by this fact and I realized the hidden power relations being reinforced through our everyday language. This Easter I was surprised that in Greece we use the same phrase for our own version of chocolate balls. I am curious to ask what people think about this linguistic matter and its historically negative connotation. Another thought is how we use our language without even reflecting deeper, but when we have the opportunity to come closer to other cultures and their best practices, we are more aware and sensitive towards issues we might have never thought of.


The Swedish Negro Balls

ladda ned

The Greek Negro Balls



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Life can’t be changed from your sofa…

Posted in: Little Confessions... on 18 April, 2017 by Maria

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Lesvos, a Greek Island. Mytilene, a capital city once famous for its great touristic possibilities. A place, which became a hotspot of the refugee crisis. Islanders who were nominated for the Nobel Prize for their Humanitarian contribution…

This is probably my most sincere blog ever. I can’t really put my thoughts together or systematically plan the information I am going to process in this article. This is me raw…

I am living in Sweden, a country far far away, a paradise, an economy that hasn’t experienced much of the financial crisis, which made me move from Greece in the first place. A country which gave my life back after years and years of unemployment and a country which made me also live in a high standard society with phenomenal social benefits. Just a few weeks ago, I was complaining about me not having everything I want, instead of focusing on what I actually have. Accommodation, food, water and basic rights t education and work.

While Daphne was driving us to our accommodation, a motel owner and a volunteer with years of experience in the refugee and immigration crisis, I saw them. In a camp… just walking around… old almost destroyed clothes, skinny, looking desperate and tired. Are they ever going to get their life back? I can’t dare to even think of it, not because I am a pessimist, but because they are stuck in between systems. And life, human life becomes ghosts, people who walk around like a shadow of what they once were. If I would have just a small opportunity to talk t them, I would say that I will never understand how you feel, but at least I can try…

60 km they had to walk on sunny days as hell to reach to the city of Mytilene, once they were arriving with the boats if they would manage to reach the coast alive. They were promises by the smugglers that this is Europe, these mountains they could see from Turkey was the European civilization. It was Lesvos, an island that tried its best to help them and exploit them in some cases. The islanders made their own choices. Some of them were selling water for the refugees for 10 EUR or battery charging for 5 EUR. Some others were offering them car rides to the city of Mytilene with the risk of being accused of being part of the smuggling system.

Daphne was arrested and had to go through a trial. She was released from accusations as her voluntary work and the testimonies collected were proving that her help was not financed by any means. A strong woman who says that we should think of life in a political way, as a democratic system which respects and protects the human life. Her eyes often shed tears. I get emotional just by looking at her. How could I find her courage to actually take action when it was needed the most?

Turning from spectators to spectactors is not a just a matter of options and decisions, in theory, it also requires the guts to risk our comfort zone and our own well-being in the sake of believing in something greater. The respect to the human life.

We just need to throw ourselves in the deep water as life doesn’t change from our sofa, according to Daphne…


P.S.: I am currently participating in the Erasmus+ Project “Think Human”, 17-24/04/2017 organised by System&G Greece.


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Maria Kousoula

Maria Kousoula
Hey Lovely People!
My name is Maria and i am studying Gender at Linköping University. I am extremely interested in travelling and promoting Gender Issues.

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