Sokol Kalicani (48 from Fier, Albania) has been working as the go-to-guy at City Plaza keeping the building safe and warm since it opened its doors to 400 refugees in April last year.
What does your role at City Plaza involve?
I’m here everyday. I spend all my free time helping wherever I can here. I work as a plumber and general handyman as my day job but I have a lot of days off.
I fix all that I can while I’m here and help to make sure that everyone is safe and comfortable in this home.
What is a typical day for you at City Plaza?
Coffee! The day always starts with coffee. Usually I’m given a list of families or rooms to visit. And it happens also that people see me on the stairs or at the door and ask me to help them with something.
When I’m not working on general maintenance, I help where I can. In the kitchen, in the reception, in the security.
My role here isn’t just fixing things. I feel that I support a lot of people. I’m a ‘papa’ for many people here. For my whole life I’ve been a social person and it fits with how I spend my time with everyone here. It’s part of how City Plaza runs that we all support each other. It’s my moto and part of the way I live my life that alone, nobody can do anything.
Why did you get involved in this project?
I’ve known some of the other people who opened City Plaza for 20 years. We’ve always been active in supporting the rights of migrants and minority groups. We made a collective decision to open City Plaza as an alternative to the horrible conditions of the camps.
I feel good at the end of each day, that I’m doing something that really helps. I know that I do things everyday for the people who live here that make a difference. Feeling fulfilled is important to me. I can say to my children ‘I’m doing something good with my time’. I think a lot of people working at City Plaza feel a sense of pride for the home that we have created.
25 years ago I was a refugee. Ok, I wasn’t a political refugee. But I was alone when I arrived in Greece, I didn’t speak the language. I am able to feel what they feel in many ways.
Why is it important that City Plaza remains open?
One word to summarise this place: dignity. Every human being needs basic things to be healthy, to live in dignity. Refugees living in the camps and detention centers don’t have these things.
Here people have access to hot water, enough food, a doctor. Do they have that in the camps? (Claps his hands) No. There’s really no security for people in the camps. They’re like ghettos. Here it’s somewhere where people can live in dignity.
I don’t believe in borders. When we’re born we’re all equal. We don’t have a choice where we’re born.
3 words to decribe the experience of living with 400 others at City Plaza:
Happiness, equality, dignity
For you what does it mean for people from around the world to donate what they can to keep this project alive?
With all the wealth that there is in this world, we have to share what we have. We have to be together, in a community. With our hands by our sides we can’t do anything. Things can’t change from nothing.
In these times solidarity means supporting refugees and projects which promote dignity for them. Even a small donation will help.
If we all give a little, together we will give a lot.
However small or big your donation, every little will help. Everyone at City Plaza thanks you for your kindness and support in helping us to continue to live and work together in our home, to continue to live here in peace, togetherness and solidarity.
Donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen