In 2014 Imece was founded by a group of people who wanted to develop ways to serve the community. While the original work consisted of providing aid for local people in need, upon the beginning of the refugee crisis, our priorities changed. Though Çeşme and Chios have always been important points for population movement, the security situation of the Middle East in 2015 created a massive influx of people trying to cross into Europe. Since Imece was not yet an established humanitarian center, most of the help we provided were emergency distribution of goods needed to ensure these families’ survival (food, water, baby formula, basic first aid, medical rescue, etc).
Prior to the EU-Turkey Agreement of March 2016, many people were crossing illegally into Chios, where they could easily arrange legal and secure transport into European soil. Since the Agreement, refugees now need to complete all their administrative authorizations from within the Greek islands, which can take up to two years to complete. During this time, many are staying in camps with very poor conditions. Because of this, many refugees have opted to stay in Turkey.
In March 2016, Imece received legal authorization as a nonprofit organization, and this made it possible to continue our work at a larger scale. With an increase of unofficial settlements, Imece began emergency distribution to various settlements in the Izmir region. However, we realized that while distributions are needed and indispensable, they do not promote autonomy for the people. Because of this, we decided to develop the Imece Village Project. Here we offer a variety of programs that promote independence and sustainability for our beneficiaries, but at the same time self-sustainability for us, as an organization, by introducing a different model for living in the Imece Village.