LGBTQ+ Support

The LGBTQ Project at Za’atar is a social initiative that takes steps to extend supportive provisions to the LGBTQ refugee population. Most LGBTQ refugees come from countries where being gay is considered a crime. Upon reaching Europe these refugees are forced to live in overcrowded camps and shelters with fellow nationals where harassment and bullying is common.

Za’atar’s mission is to provide this vulnerable group with much needed support.

A mentoring program facilitated by volunteers who speak Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Kurdish, French and English, and identify as LGBTQ themselves, guide and teach refugees and vulnerable individuals about LGBTQ rights, and connect them with appropriate resources. It is important that the broader refugee community is educated on LGBTQ rights to establish long-term cultural integration for all of its members.

Za’atar additionally seeks to help LGBTQ refugees establish community groups so that they can meet others facing the same issues and form friendships. A dedicated effort is made to reach out to refugees in camps and informal settlements, making sure our services, contact number and Facebook group is known and accessible. Za’atar is a declared LGBTQ friendly non-profit organization, only accepting volunteers that are also LGBTQ friendly. These initiatives offer the education and resources to encourage and support the cultural integration of vulnerable refugees.

an in depth look: our priorities at the orange house


The Orange House proactively follows operational practices that are sustainable and ecologically conscious. We care about the environment and source donations of second hand or repaired furniture to meet the needs of the shelter and community center. Seminars are offered to residents of the shelter that discuss eco-friendly behaviors and awareness.

We sort and recycle all garbage and waste products, and try to reduce our ecological footprint by minimizing the use of meat in our lunch program. This philosophy has helped Za’atar maintain a low operating budget, and ensures all donations sent to Za’atar are spent responsibly and with greatest direct positive impact to the beneficiaries.

We prioritize serving vegetarian options for our daily free hot lunch in order to reduce our environmental footprint.

Recently, the Orange House upgraded it's building through the use of solar panels installed on the roof of our shelter. This change provided three primary benefits. First, it reduced electricity costs. Second, the solar panels reduce our carbon footprint. Finally, the solar panels allow us to provide energy to beneficiaries throughout the day without interruption. We also collect furniture, beauty products (for Layali Salon), and food for our day center from companies in the community.

giving back

Our goal at Za'atar NGO is not just to provide assistance to the refugee community but to do so while encouraging integration with the local Greek Community and the broader refugee support community. By sharing our resources with other organizations, we can ensure 100% of available funds are being used for the direct benefit of migrants and refugees.

We support other organizations by donating clothes, organize food distribution, and donate hygiene items and furniture. 

Za'atar particapting in a yearly Greek basketball tournament.

We encourage our community center attendees and residents to participate in cultural events throughout Athens and organize weekly trips to events every Sunday. Recently, these trips have included basketballs tournaments, trips to museums and the Acropolis, and a beach clean up event at a popular local beach.

Whenever possible, we look to integrate with Greek businesses and individuals to provide our services. For example, much of the food we receive that is used to cook our daily meal comes from neighborhood bakeries and restaurants.

Many refugees will be in Greece for decades to come and Za'atar considers part of its responsibility to facilitate the necessary two-way process of integration.

Za'atar relies on financial support from private donors.

Za'atar NGO is a registered non-profit under Greek law. In Greek, the organization is registered as "ΖΑΑΤΑΡ ΑΣΤΙΚΗ ΜΗ ΚΕΡΔΟΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ." Registration Number: 140646901000.