One Happy Family


April 2023

Dear OHF Community

The month of April 2023 is a special one because we are celebrating a birthday:

Our Victoria Community Centre celebrates its first anniversary!

A year ago, on the 5th of April 2022, after weeks of preparations and many licks of paint, OHF and Dråpen i Havet opened the doors of Victoria Community Centre to visitors after making the difficult decision to leave Lesvos, our home for 5 years.
Establishing a new home here in Victoria has certainly had its ups and downs, but over time we’ve seen the centre grow into the social, inclusive and colourful space it is today.
A huge thank you to our wonderful partner organisations that have played a vital part in creating a vibrant, supportive and diverse community of actors providing necessary services in a holistic and collaborative way.
And thank you to everyone else who has been involved in shaping the centre; from all our team members who have shared their ideas and helped to grow our projects, to the visitors that have brought smiles, conversation and life to the centre. We’re grateful for each and every one of you. And of course, a big thank you to you, our supporters and donors, who are scattered all over the world.
A few examples of highlights in March are:
We had two visits from RED NOSES Emergency Smile who performed wonderful shows on our sunny rooftop for the children and adults visiting the centre! Thank you so much for bringing smiles and joy to those who watched the show, it’s always a pleasure to have you!
And we’re are very happy that our table tennis table is now a permanent addition to our rooftop space. Now that the weather is getting a little warmer, we’ll be opening our rooftop space each day from 10.30 am-12 pm for visitors to the centre, where they can come and enjoy the sun, play some games, and even take part in a tournament or two (we’ve already got some pretty strong contenders!)
And of course, there was also a wonderful Nowruz celebration. With themes of new growth, rebirth, and healing, Nowruz marks the start of the Persian New Year and the start of spring.
We'd like to say a huge thank you to Hidden Goddess for throwing a wonderful celebration for the beneficiaries and team members on our rooftop with food, music, and lots of dancing!
It can be hard to know what will happen in the years to come, navigating an ever-changing social and political climate as an NGO is never easy, but what we do hope is that our space can continue to evolve so as to meet the needs of those who need it most and that OHF and our partner organisations can continue to welcome people into our centre with open arms and a hot cup of coffee.

Here’s to the next year!
Unfortunately, last month was also the anniversary of a sad event that we continue to strongly criticise:

This March marked the 7-year anniversary of the EU-Turkey deal. The deal, signed in March 2016, agreed that anyone who arrived ‘irregularly’ on Greek Islands from Turkey could be sent back, and Turkey would take measures to prevent people from arriving ‘irregularly’.
But what has been the result of such a deal, 7 years on?
Well, the policies subsequently put in place to contain refugees and migrants arriving on the Islands have resulted in many being trapped in a sort of ‘legal limbo’, specifically as Turkey has not been receiving returned refugees since 2020, which can have devastating consequences on their psychosocial well-being.
We envision a world in which all who face persecution, violence, poverty, or any restriction on their human rights, have the ability to find safety and refuge in a place that allows them to thrive. Deals such as these, restrict this from happening and instead paint a hostile and unwelcoming picture of countries that could otherwise provide assistance to people in need.
We hope that you have the same vision and thank you sincerely for your support on our journey to achieve this together!

All the best from the OHF team
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Content: Catherine Mosley, Johanna Käser
Date: 06.04.23
One Happy Family | www.ohf.gr | info@ohf-lesvos.org
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