Located in Athens, Zaatar assists all refugees and asylum seekers with a focus on single women, mothers with children, and LGBTs.
In Arabic ‘za’atar’ is a mix of herbs used daily in Middle Eastern cuisine. Just as the herbs combined together enhance the food they are cooked with so we believe that people with various backgrounds, skills and interests enrich each other too.
United with volunteers from around the world, Zaatar’s guiding purpose is to assist refugees who are searching for a safe haven – peace and respite from war.
We are an international and local team with various personal and professional backgrounds, speaking many languages and with a background in refugee-related work. Our co-founders are both Greek citizens.
With approximately fifteen volunteers each week we work in conjunction with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), informal settlements, and an organisation operating a local warehouse of donated goods to deliver services in Athens and the Attica region.
Marina is a French-Greek citizen and serves as Zaatar‘s Director. After studying Law and Communications in Paris and New York City, Marina began a career in humanitarian work. During her professional career, she has worked at a variety of international organizations including the United Nations. In 2016, she decided to set up a non-profit with Hasan. Marina now serves as the Director ofZaatar and manages all day-to-day operations. She speaks Arabic, English, French, Greek, and Spanish.
Hasan was born in Edleb, Syria. He has spent most of his life in Athens, Greece, and now works in the HR department of a multinational company. After meeting Marina while volunteering to support refugees arriving at Athens’ port, Hasan assisted with the legal side of setting up Zaatar as an official NGO. He handles finances and strategic planning for Zaatar and speaks Arabic, English, and Greek.
Mariam is Iraqi and grew up in Saudi Arabia and the UK. She has an academic background in humanitarian work and has volunteered with refugee focused organizations in Austria and throughout Greece. After volunteering with The Orange House part time on multiple trips to Greece, she decided to move to Greece permanently to serve as The Orange House’s Operations Manager. She speaks English and Arabic.
David is an American-Estonian citizen from Anchorage, Alaska. After serving as a volunteer at The Orange House, David continued to assist with fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and strategic planning on a remote basis. He studied Politics in Los Angeles before building a diverse professional background in law, politics, business, and real estate. David now leads Zaatar’s newest project: a social enterprise dedicated to providing training and employment to refugees in Athens. He speaks English and is beginning studies in Greek.
Léa is from Paris, France. She studied HR and Communications in Paris and Montreal before dedicating herself to recruitment. She has more than 4 years of experience recruiting junior and senior positions across different industries on a global level. She has worked for top recruitment companies in Paris, London, and Barcelona. Léa now interviews all volunteer candidates interested in contributing their time to Zaatar. She speaks French, Spanish and English.
Rinki & Chirag are from the United States. Rinki is currently in Medical School and Chirag works in the Robotics sector. After volunteering at Zaatar’s Orange House, they continue to assist with managing the Orange House on a remote basis. Rinki helps to organize the volunteer recruitment process. Chirag assists with special projects and responding to general inquiries. Both speak English.
From a partner organization:
I am privileged to have worked with the Orange House during Autumn/Winter 2016 as part of a collaboration to provide legal advice and representation to the most vulnerable residents and visitors. What impacted me the most about my time at the Orange House is the incredible dedication and professionalism of its volunteer staff members. Their commitment to empowering the lives of refugees is truly inspiring. I look forward to seeing the successes of the Orange House continue in 2017! – Laura Edwards, Advocates Abroad (NGO), UK
What other people are saying about Zaatar and the Orange House…
Al Jazeera International covered a story that incorporates some of our philosophy of why it’s important that refugees live in urban areas where they can apply for asylum and access integration supports. Please see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzlUl1H_K4Q