kapota project, 2014-2015
Since 2009 a sizeable part of the Greek population has been facing the consequences of a severe capitalist-financial crisis. Following a three party agreement between the Greek government, the EU and the IMF, successive austerity packages have dismantled the country’s social fabric. An estimated 23% of Greeks are presently living below the poverty line. Youth unemployment (15-24 years) has reached 62%, while 1.5 million people are currently unemployed. As the recession keeps deepening the circumstances experienced by Greek society are comparable to those of the Second World War. In Menidi, one of the poorest and most rundown suburbs in Athens, is pinned on the map as enclosing the human geography of the Greek crisis era. The Kapota camp was inaugurated in 1999 as a required aftermath of the devastating September 1999 earthquake and was ceded by the Greek armed forces. Initially 400 prefabricated homes were set up within the Kapota camp, but another 550 were added soon after. The Greek state’s original plan was for the earthquake victims to stay there for two years after which they were to be transferred back to their repaired homes. Almost 16 years later, more than 3,500 people continue to live in the camp’s modified containers hence constituting a society with all the characteristics of a ghetto: poverty, social exclusion, isolation, long-term unemployment. People here encounter dozens of problems of psychological, health and economic hardship. Many, mainly repatriates from the former Soviet republics, have been through situations they were unable to manage, issues that torment them further over time.