Tilos won the EU Sustainable Energy Award 2017 with its renewable energy-based battery station and smart microgrid, sending a very strong message that alternative, community-level schemes that foster energy storage are becoming a viable reality and a way to address energy security for islands.
But the 800-strong community might also be Europe’s friendliest island, having made 50 refugees feel at home. New arrivals are being given accommodation and residency, as long as they work and integrate.
Most migrants in Greece live in camps, while Tilos has housed 50 migrants.
Kaousay al Damad came to Tilos from a camp on Lesbos. He works in the bakery: – “I lost seven months in Lesbos. I need work. I’m not coming here for eating, for sleeping, for ‘please give me money’ or ‘please give me home.’ When I arrived to Tilos, all my life changed. This is not Tilos. This name is not Tilos, it is dreamland.”
The Syrians of Tilos have been here less than a year. Many locals hope they will stay.
Maria Kamma is the Mayor of Tilos: ”If this small island managed to do this then it is a bright example that with a little bit of effort there will be no refugee crisis, no humanitarian crisis, there will be no refugee problem, not only in Greece but in all of Europe, too.”
Maria Kamma is the chairman of the Greek island organisation Hellenic Small Islands Network (HSIN), proud member of ESIN, which will hold its 2018 annual general meeting on Tilos in May, 2018.