reusable cups

One Happy Family

November 2019

Situation on Lesvos

Arrivals in October
Until the 26th of October, 71 boats with a total number of 2,718 people arrived on Lesvos. Even if this figure is a decrease compared to September, it still is a very high number of arrivals – specially considering that border controls have been reinforced with measures like drones, more boats patrolling, infrared cameras, etc.

Number of people on the island
The latest official number of people residing in and outside Moria (issued on the 23rd of October, 2019) is 14,272. Kara Tepe is at more than full capacity with 1,307 people. Pikpa is currently housing 77 people. 77 people are in the Hellenic Police facilities. UNHCR is housing 645 people. The National Centre for Social Solidarity houses 141 people. This results in a total of 16,519 human beings seeking safety on Lesvos.

As per the latest official numbers, Moria’s official hosting capacity is of 2,840 people. This means that it is at over 5 times its capacity, with more than 14,000 people living in the camp. New arrivals are still brought to Moria, given a tent and told to find their place to live.

Olive Grove
Recently the Olive Grove, just next to Moria, has been fully rented by the Dutch organisation Movement on the Ground (MOTG). Until not long ago MOTG rented only the south part of the Olive Grove, and improved the conditions for the people living there. Now, after trying for around a year, they have been able to rent the whole Olive Grove and started improvements from the top of the area on. The current ongoing ameliorations consist of levelling the ground with small stones, setting up bigger tents and bringing in electricity, fire extinguishers, etc. MOTG is also registering all the residents in the Olive Grove now to have a better overview and be able to support better.

Situation on other Aegean Islands
The situation on the other Aegean Islands is similar, all the camps are completely overcrowded and not suited to host the amount of men, women and children they are currently hosting:
Chios: Over 5,000 people
Kos: Over 4,000 people
Leros: Over 2,400 people
Other: Over 200 people
And these are only the islands. Greece is hosting a total of 96,500 people. This situation can’t be dealt with by Greece alone. The other European countries have to take on responsibility.

Inside the projects: Fundraising

Most of our projects are located on the Lesvos site and are visible to visitors.
But there is a hidden project, which has no location, takes place all over the world and without it the many projects on Lesvos wouldn’t exist.
The project is called "fundraising," which means "somehow bringing money in" and is run by volunteers from around the world.

The project is as diverse and creative as our volunteers and One Happy Family friends. Foundations are contacted, events organized, concerts given, auctions carried out, newsletters written, cakes baked, workshops and lectures held, hair cut, flyers distributed, competitions run, exhibitions organized, media contacted or even associations founded. It's easy, anyone can contribute from anywhere, it's fun and it's incredibly necessary because OHF is needed, and can only exist through donations.

The fundraising team has already revealed the next Christmas effort:
You do not have to worry about Christmas presents because OHF is producing new socks (soon available online) and we’ll also export organic olive oil from Lesvos, which can be collected from volunteers in Switzerland. More details will follow in the next few weeks.
At the moment we can already share with you that 1ltr of our Safe Passage Olive Oil will cost 30 CHF / 27 Euro, and 500ml 15 CHF / 13 Euro.
Our socks will have a new design and new colours but will keep the “Safe passage” line they stand for as well. More information will follow in the next newsletter.

"We are dependent on people who are committed to the OHF project in their home countries. I would like to say to former volunteers that there are no rules, that every little effort helps and that you can contact me if you have any questions or need support. Do not think too hard, just do it! We need you!" – Fanny, board member and fundraising manager from Switzerland.

#MeetTheFamily: Zeynep

Zeynep_Meet the family
Today we have a very special Meet The Family as we would like to give a warm welcome to our latest member of the Coordination team, Zeynep, Volunteer Coordinator! Welcome Zeynep and thank you for everything you do for everyone here at One Happy Family!

Zeynep, who is originally from Turkey, joined the family in June, leaving Barcelona behind to follow her heart and do something that really matters to her.
She soon became an intrinsic part of One Happy Family, with time and a smile for everyone, the role of Volunteer Coordinator seemed to just ’fit’ with her friendly, cheerful and approachable demeanour. As the Volunteer Coordinator, Zeynep helps all of our international volunteers from the moment they apply, through their time at OHF and even after they leave. With a listening ear, a caring ’can do’ attitude and lots of good advice, she helps everyone to prepare for, settle in and enjoy their time at OHF! Despite her busy new role, Zeynep is always happy to help in every aspect of life at OHF and her love of dishwashing has earnt her the title of Dishwashing Queen!
Of course, we are sure you want to get to know this fabulous person a little more, so we asked her a few questions about her time at OHF:

What is your favourite part of the day?
Days at One Happy Family are hectic, so one needs to find a moment to breath and mine is sitting outside where the guitar students practice and just listening to them. Also washing the dishes outside, especially when the kids join to “help”… it is a mess, but it is so much fun!
My most memorable moment…
It is really difficult to single out one moment, as life here is full of them, those seemingly insignificant interactions that make everything worthwhile. However, I recall a very special moment: an ordinary summer evening, the sun is setting, OHF is about to close, some people are playing ball games in the yard, some are chatting and laughing, others making music, kids running around… I remember that it felt as if every single problem on Earth was outside that gate… and I remember missing that moment as I was experiencing it. It was a very weird, and a quite wonderful feeling which made me realize how much I love this place.
This strikes me the most…
The fact that a hell like Moria exists on this island which is a heaven on Earth; all the contradictions between all kinds of traits of humanity - all the good, the bad and the ugly; everything becoming so real as you get to know and hear the stories of all those people who were simply numbers on the news, without faces or individual stories…
One Happy Family is…
Definitely what the name says: one happy, colourful, yet noisy, overwhelming, crazy (the good kind), challenging family… A breathing space, and an amazing example of how people from all kinds of backgrounds, all walks of life, nationalities, and religions can share a space peacefully, support each other, work together and collaborate in harmony…
This is what I would like to tell other people…
No matter how big or small every effort counts when it comes to solidarity… So, go on, inform yourself, spread the word, donate, sign a petition, volunteer, take action to create the world you want to live in!
We spoke with two of our old volunteers, who were very happy to hear the news of her appointment and wanted to tell you a little about Zeynep, as she is renowned for being very modest:
Rebecca says that “Zeynep is the perfect choice to complete the Coordination Team. The Mother of OHF with her big heart, an open ear and good advice you feel beloved every day.”
Anton added: ”Being at OHF also means being with Zeynep, which is a wonderful thing! She's got a refreshingly genuine mind, leading herself in decision and opinion making. What a social wealth!”

Thank you Zeynep, your work impacts so many people in such a positive way, you really are a fabulous role model for us all!
“ No matter how big or small every effort counts when it comes to solidarity."
newest coordination team member

News from the Community Centre

Reusable cups, aka One Happy Cup
We have finally started distributing reusable cups (see the header picture), donated by Three Peas and Better Days, to all our visitors. An additional button in our bank system guarantees we give one cup to every visitor over 3 years old. This “One Happy Cup” is then marked with the name of the person. Every cup comes with a carabiner to make sure the cup can be clipped to a bag, jeans or wherever. Our visitors use this cup in the Community Centre for drinks at the Café, but at the same time they can also use it in the camps, making us able to support our visitors a little bit even outside OHF. We’re very happy to see the happy faces of our visitors with their colourful cups. Thanks to Three Peas and Better Days – two NGOs that support us since a long time – Merci beaucoup!
We are still looking for reusable spoons/forks, alias sporks, made of plastic (for security reasons) with a hole, so that they could as well be clipped together with the cup. If you know of a place where to buy them, or are willing to donate them, please do let us know – we will be more than happy to hear from you!

Longterm volunteer responsibilities
As the Community Center grows and more people visit it, the responsibilities of the Coordination Team grow as well. Fortunately we have amazing volunteers that are taking on responsibilities. This means that now different longterm roles, as Logistics support, Social Media support, Cinema and Cybercafé management, Art table organization, Children at OHF supervision and many more have been undertaken by volunteers. Thanks to all the motivated people that join us and take over tasks, therefore caring, and sharing the OHF spirit of “Together for the better”.

The magician that amazed our visitors
This month DMC, the “magician of choice to royalty”, visited OHF and amazed our visitors with his magic. It was beautiful to see everyone surrounding DMC and immersing themselves in this moment of imagination. It was beautiful as well when he took the time to show some of our visitors one of his magic tricks – the training is going on now with us showing the trick to each other, learning from one another, and from YouTube tutorials. The magic is spreading :)
DMC Magic
Toilets at OHF
With the increase of visitors at OHF we also are in an urgent need of more toilets. Our visitors sometimes not only use the toilets as for what they are but, due to the lack of sanitary facilities in Moria camp, it’s the only moment where washing/quick showering is as well possible.
Currently we are already building more toilets for men. For women and children our desired solution is a toilet container, which can be transported or reused somewhere else in case we don’t need it anymore. We will start a special fundraiser for this very soon, as the need is urgent.

Break in at OHF
After a very long time without any incident of this sort, we unfortunately we had a break in at the center. All of our barber material, like scissors, hair cutting machines, hair dryers and so on, has been “ali baba-ed” (word used on the island for stealing). A specialist from our security company has since come by and fixed our windows. The message we spread among our visitors was: “Unfortunately we can’t offer our services if our material gets stolen”.

Library in need of books in Dari & Farsi
We have recently been writing to organisations all over the world asking for donations of books in Dari and Farsi – our hard work has paid off a little, and we received a few books, but we are still on the lookout for more! In particular, Ahmad, our librarian, says he would love a Farsi-English dictionary which includes English grammar, as he is frequently asked for this. We would be more than happy if you could send us some books to our address:

One Happy Family Community Center
Apothiki Leventelli
Kara Tepe - Lesvos, North Aegean, 81100

Or maybe you know someone who knows someone who knows someone… :) Thanks in advance!

Picture of the month:

Yoga & Sports for Refugees

Yoga & Sport
Here is a message from our amazing partner Yoga & Sport:

“Yesterday, Samuel made everyone dance in his class and Najib had his team sweating during Kung Fu! 🕺🏻🥊🥋🤼 Making everyone smile, relax and forget about their problems for a moment. Because of these and many other classes we are able to make a difference.
All of this is only possible through support.🙏

Yoga & Sport needs your support to continue! 💪
Since March we have been able to provide a safe space for more than 1,000 asylum seekers per month where they can exercise. We have created a real community in which everyone helps each other to be healthy and feel well, and we want to be able to do more!

That's why we have launched a new fundraising campaign to support our Yoga and Sport Gym! Please donate and share with the world.”


Fundraising Event in Zurich
Together for the better! One idea, someone starting it and many people coming together results in an amazing event: we’re looking forward to seeing as many people as possible at our next Fundraising Event in Zurich.
Content: Jael Tobler
Date: 31/10/2019
One Happy Family | https://ohf-lesvos-org | info@ohf-lesvos.org | @ohflesvos
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