OHF - Cedric Fettouche - no rights (33)

One Happy Family

October 2019

Situation on Lesvos

Arrivals in September
The number of arrivals to Lesvos during September continues to soar. Until the 29th of September, 4795 men, women and children arrived. This results in a total number of 16,022 human beings arriving to Lesvos in 2019. Transfers to the mainland this year have been counted 10,170. The current population of people seeking asylum on Lesvos stands at 14,911. The situation on the other islands isn’t much different. In total, as of the 29th of September, 30,778 people are stuck on the Aegean Islands.

The camp Moria has been rightly nick-named “hell”. Conditions still remain poor; however, the population keeps growing. At the moment more than around 13,000 men, women and children have to endure life in and outside Moria. Around 130 people are still sleeping without a tent, despite heavy rains during the end of September. Moria interim management announced that they could no longer receive additional people after reaching 12,000 occupants - quadruple the camp’s official capacity. Over 4500 of these people are children, around 1000 of these children are unaccompanied minors.

Fight and riots in Moria
On the 29th of September there was a fire inside Moria taking the lives of at least two human beings. There are reports that there were further deaths, however that remains unconfirmed at this stage. It is still unknown whether the fire or the riots took place first, and the exact cause of the fire. One thing is certain: living conditions inside and outside Moria are no longer bearable and continue to be unsafe.

Emergency situation
Moria is in a constant state of emergency. We all adapt, manage, and then things get worse. There is still no real emergency plan for now, or for the winter that is close approaching. Grassroot organisations still step in to provide basic needs such as blankets, tents and pallets to put under the tents, so people can at least stay dry.

No heads of Camp managements
As of mid-September, both Kara Tepe and Moria have no official management. As said in the last newsletter, the contract of Kara Tepe Manager, Stavros Mirogiannis had not been renewed. No replacement has been identified. In early September, Moria’s manager since 2016, Giannis Balbakakis resigned, stating that “I am tired”. Having no identified management at either camp is highly concerning, and we will monitor any progress closely.

Inside the projects: Bank

Today we take a look at the Bank of One Happy Family (see head picture), probably not something you’d expect to exist, but here you learn to expect the unexpected!
An essential foundation of One Happy Family, the bank greets over 600 visitors every day. Our bankers not only welcome people to the community centre but register the many new visitors to our system. Over the Summer, we have an increase of 60% of new registrations in the banking system. The Bank is where we inform people what is going on and of course, distribute our ‘drachma’, a.k.a. "funny money".
The drachma was a brainchild of one of our founders and is a self-made free currency, given to visitors every day that they visit.
Outside of OHF, our drachma has no monetary value, however, throughout the day visitors can “buy” a coffee at the Café, a haircut at the barbershop, essentials in our shop, or even English lessons in the Adult School.
It was once rumoured that there was a black market on Lesvos, for OHF drachma! We now include a stamp or personalized note (Happy Drachma!) on each and every drachma to prevent this slightly hilarious and not so criminal underground from occurring.
The bank is a very popular task amongst our volunteers, as it allows you to put names to faces and to get to know the people you see every day, a little better.
Anna_Meet the family

#MeetTheFamily: Anna

What a blast to have had you here the last months! You came to volunteer with One Happy Family the first time in Spring – and then came back and took over responsibility as Shift Coordination. This means you didn’t only coordinate all of our volunteers, but you also integrated yourself very fast into the whole team of our Community Centre.
We hope that you’ll be able to fill your heart with even more encounters during the next months and wish you tons of energy to play “hi-ha-hu” and all the other fun stuff.
Thank YOU!
Anna's wish…
For the long run I wish that we would be able to close OHF – because we don’t need it anymore. But for the moment, I’m wishing that the positive energy remains here and that we rethink over and over again what this place is supposed to be: A place to encounter each other. A place where we meet and get to know each other as human beings and can support each other.
Anna's message to you…
Open hearts & open minds!
See for yourself, listen to your heart, listen to other people, be open for other people and their stories and try to rethink about your ideas/views and challenge those – in short: be open minded!
“ Open hearts and open minds!”
Anna, former volunteer

News from the Community Centre

Emergency support
We are extremely concerned about the current situation on the island and try to support our fellow NGO’s as much as we can. We recently donated sleeping bags and blankets to Refugee4Refugees, who distributes them in Moria. At the same time, we are supporting Stage 2 Camp for newly arrived people in the north of the Island. We have donated sugar, cups and toothbrushes from our storage. We also helped our Movement on the Ground, for some days, transporting wood pallets to the Olive Grove. They are being used under tents to keep them dry from the rain.

Data collection
As numbers in Moria become unsustainably higher, visitor numbers to OHF rise daily. With this increase in numbers, it's becoming harder and harder to make evidence-based decisions based purely on interpersonal relationships and general observation. So, we've started collecting and collating more data to improve services and make better decisions. We're doing this by counting visitors in and out at the gate in 30 minute periods to determine how many visitors are on-site at any one time, counting spoons before and after lunch to determine how many people we feed (comparing this to the gate data helps us determine how fair the food line is), and collecting order numbers at the cafe to see the demand there. Along with the bank being used as a data collection point, we hope to be able to use these 3-4 data points in order to find correlations that will better predict demand for services such as food, water, and all other services at OHF.

Many new visitors at OHF
As we welcome an increase of new arrivals at OHF, it means there are many new faces who might not know what we do here at OHF. When people register at the bank for the first time, we provide information about what services and projects we have at the Centre, how the Centre works, when lunch is distributed etc. We also provide and distribute flyers in Farsi, English, French and Arabic. We are working to update our OHF visual map to include all our new projects and changes from the past year.

Beach cleaning
Around the World, World Climate Day and World Clean-up Week was celebrated. Together with partner organisations, we decided to take on the beaches of Lesvos and collect and clean the trash lying there; in order to restore the natural beauty of this Island we all care about. For two days, before OHF opened, we spent a few dedicated hours cleaning the beach at the third stop, and the beach in front of Lidl. Around 15 OHF volunteers joined in the clean- up. A big thank you to all!

Baby kitten at OHF
One day, a cat arrived at OHF. This is of course not unusual in Lesvos, however, this one decided to stick around and soon, became part of the family! Receiving copious amounts of attention, mostly from our many visiting children, the cat was lovingly named Steve.
It turns out that Steve was not so aptly named as she soon used our garden as a nursery with the delivery of kittens! Steve now has just one beautiful little kitten and has herself been sterilized, thanks to a donation from one of our old volunteers!
OHF welcomes everyone, even cats, but Steve is special, and we want to stick to just one, so that we can give her the attention she deserves…if anyone knows someone that is looking for a kitten, Steve’s baby girl is looking for her forever home now.
WhatsApp Image 2019-09-23 at 12.41.40
Changes in the barbershop system
By changing the way we allocate times for a haircut we have reduced visitors idle time at the gate by approximately 250 hours a week. Our visitors don’t line up early in the morning in front of the gate anymore - We use a lottery system to determine who gets a haircut. 18 volunteer hours have been saved by not having a volunteer sitting in front of the barbershop the whole day. The registration is done in the morning and then during the day the barbers check names. We’ve also been able to monitor demand as a result of the change of system - right now we have anywhere from 30-45 visitors enter the draw for a haircut and we do 8-12 haircuts per day.
Clinic waiting area

Picture of the month: Clinic

Our MVI clinic has had one busy summer! As you see from the statistics, there have been a huge increase in new arrivals to the Island. More and more, we see people who have recently arrived, having no idea what services are available to them that meet their basic needs. The Registration and Identification process in Moria process takes time, which also delays access to services. The population in Moria is highly traumatized, and this lack of information and of services only adds to their stress. It is also a huge adjustment for new arrivals in facing their new reality.

We currently have 4 Doctors, one nurse, one physiotherapist and me, as a nurse and coordinator. Our clinic is always full, and we see a variety of cases, ranging from scraped knees to severe psychiatric cases. During the month of August, we saw around 800 medical cases, and around 250 people accessed our physiotherapy services. We will continue to support the population here, by providing holistic care. There is unfortunately still a huge need for us to be here, particularly coming into winter.
Content: Jael Tobler
Date: 30/9/2019
One Happy Family | https://ohf-lesvos-org | info@ohf-lesvos.org | @ohflesvos
CH23 0079 0016 9736 1524 7 (CHF) | CH36 0079 0016 9737 1172 2 (EUR)
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