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​Emilia Kamvisi (1934)

the grandmother of Lesvos

Emilia Kamvisi was born in Lesvos from a family who fled Turkey in 1922. After a lifetime of hard work and despite her sickness, she is now helping refugees nearby Skalan Sikamineas pier, where thousands of refugees arrived in 2015 (until the EU-Turkey agreement stopped the migrants' exodus). 

"It is true that there are some people who don't want refugees fleeing to Europe, but they should come here to understand. When you see and touch with your hands all this, then everything change": with these words, Emilia described what means to her seeing with her eyes, on her doorstep, the tragedy that these desperate people are experiencing while fleeing war and poverty. For this reason, she decided to help them. 

The picture of the "Greek Grandmother" - depicting her while feeding a Syrian newborn of a couple just arrived with a boat carrying refugees - has become particularly famous. 

Emilia continued to help refugees offering them everything she possessed (food, blankets, comfort), without ever stopping. For this reason, she was a candidate for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, together with the Lesvos's fisherman Stratos Valiamos. Even in this case, Emilia humbly said she was honored of this recognition, but that she had not done anything special - nothing that was not just natural and human to her. 

Reported by Gariwo for Monte Stella - Ceremony 2018

Gardens that honour ​Emilia Kamvisi

You can find a tree in the Virtual Garden Monte Stella's Stories.

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Righteous Encyclopedia - Migrations

Individuals who, through pacific actions, are at the forefront in defense of the ecosystem. Natives who want to protect the lands of their ancestors, rangers who fight poaching, or activists who denounce abuses and illegal actions.

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