Kherel is a new lounge bar that celebrated its opening a few weeks ago in Eleftherios Kordelio. It is a modern meeting and leisure place, created by young users of an association called “The Lighthouse of the World”. The Lighthouse of the Worldis an NGO created in 2004 with the objective of the educational and social integration of the Roma of Dendropotamos. It’s original name is “Faros tou kosmou”. The NGO was created in a totally unexpected way by Father Athenagoras Lukataris.
Father Athenagoras Lukataris
I was planning to go to Africa, which was my childhood dream. From the age of 6-7, I knew I wanted to become a priest and go on a mission. When the time came, I finished the army, I was ordained and I told the Metropolitan of Neapolis and Stavropoleos, Mr Barnabas, who knew my dream, that it was time to have a first contact with Africa. Saying to me: “You don’t need to go anywhere, we have Africa here too, go to Dendropotamos to see what you are going to do.”
It was after this encounter with this dangerous and almost non-existent neighbourhood that the initiative came. I wanted to give a light, a spark for these young people from these underprivileged backgrounds who are now recognised as the lighthouse of the world. With several initiatives and projects, always with the aim of being able to give them a chance and I have never deviated from this objective.
But let’s also come back to Kherel, named by Paraskeva. A young man from Faros, this name Kherel was not chosen by chance “Kherel in Roman language means something beautiful, something valuable and we chose it as a good image for our bar”. It is in this spirit that this project was created and has been prepared for more than 2 years and supported by the inhabitants of Faros and the young people of the Roma community, in order to allow them to participate in a community project and to allow them to have a job for some time.
Paraskevas Selim is one of the first project leaders who participated in the design of the main project. He is very involved in the activities proposed by the Lighthouse of the World since the age of 16. He was aware of the growing need of most of the young people of his age, and it was at this time and in these conditions that the idea came to him. Passionate about cooking since his childhood, even if his first dream was to join the police, instead he decided to launch a Social Integration Cooperative.
Several ideas for this cooperative were proposed in order to give young people a chance to integrate into the world of work with a wider goal behind it, which is to destroy the stereotypes and caricatures that have surrounded the Roma community for years and to show the world that they are as valuable as anyone else, “We want to prove that Roma people can live with the rest of society and that we are not inferior”.
Find them here!