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An up and down of emotions

June at OHF was an up and down of emotions.
Goodbyes and welcomes, tragedies and celebrations.
This shows us how important it is that we continue with our efforts.
Last month, one of the largest boat accidents involving migrants occurred in the Mediterranean. On 14 June, the shocking news of another shipwreck off the coast of the Peloponnese became public. The ship departed from Egypt and, after a stopover in Libya, set off across the Mediterranean with 750 people on board, according to various sources. Of these, only 104 lives were saved, 78 were found dead. Most of the people on the ship probably drowned when the ship sank, and many of the missing will never be found. According to various reports, many women and children were below deck.
It is still unclear how the accident occurred and the dispute continues as to how it could have happened. Above all, the role of the Greek coast guard is unclear. There are contradictory statements from people on board and the Greek coast guard. What is clear, however, is that it happened right in front of potential helpers.
Tragedies like these again highlight the consistently inhumane and indifferent response to people seeking safety and security, a response lacking in compassion. Compassion provides a vital lifeline, extending a helping hand to those who have been forced to leave their homes and seek safety, or security, elsewhere. It is a reminder that we are all interconnected, bound by our shared humanity. Through acts of compassion, we demonstrate our willingness to stand in solidarity and support those in need. Let's advocate for policies that reflect empathy, support organisations that provide assistance, and foster inclusive communities that embrace all individuals with open arms. Together, we can build a future where compassion becomes the cornerstone of our response to displacement, a future where people can seek a better life for themselves and their families freely and safely.

Highlight in June

Despite the tragic event, we celebrated our commitment to compassion and its central role in creating a more welcoming world once again during Refugee Week in June.
We were incredibly lucky to host a community event on our sunny roof terrace in collaboration with our partner organisations. Our hearts were completely full at the incredible level of warmth, joy and community spirit shown by the over 400 visitors we had that day! This gathering served as a reminder that compassion knows no boundaries. It's in these moments of togetherness that we realise the true strength of our community. We stand hand in hand, supporting one another, and fostering a brighter future for all. Thank you to all our amazing volunteers, supporters, partners, and visitors who made this event possible.
Pictures: Lexine Alpert

Changes in the OHF team

This month was not only a month of ups and downs because of the sad news and the celebrations, but also because changes took place in the team. In this newsletter we have to say goodbye to some long-time team members.
As you know, One Happy Family in Athens, is run by a team of several people.
Until the end of June the coordination team on the ground was composed of Zeynep and Akis. But the coordination team wouldn’t be able to do their job without the security overview of Ernest and the experience and knowledge of Fisher, responsible for procurement and storage. And we would be nowhere without the administrative work of Chrysa. Since last year we also had the amazing Cath who helped us with fundraising. A big thank you to everyone who gives their all for OHF every day, including of course all the community volunteers and volunteers. Ευχαριστώ πολύ!
But as said, changes are happening. We want to let you know that Zeynep decided to continue her way. Since 2019 she has been part of One Happy Family. She started her time with OHF as a volunteer coordinator and completed it now, 4 years later, as a CT member. Thanks to her professional, disciplined and conscientious way of working, OHF has grown as an organisation together with Zeynep. Thanks to her initiatives we have tackled many things, not only on the ground but also how we structure and organise ourselves as an organisation. There are no words to describe how grateful we are to you, dear Zeynep, and yet we say here: thank you for everything! We wish you all the best for your future and first of all a good rest.
And also Cath went back to the United Kingdom. During the last months she took care of a fundraising strategy and made it possible to move forward not only with fundraising but also with Social Media. Thank you for supporting us in all this dear Cath, we wish you all the best and hope to see you again!
Like all those who leave us, you two will always be part of the One Happy Family!

And also on the board side a big change happened:
Fanny, who was (and will still be somehow) a part of One Happy Family since the very beginning, stepped out of the board to focus on her work as a graphic designer. So many people know Fanny from her time on Lesvos but also from all her fundraising work in Switzerland and OHF wouldn’t be the same without her. She put so much effort and energy and especially time into sustaining the Community Center, first on Lesvos and then in Athens, and we wouldn’t have our lovely safe passage socks if it wasn’t for her graphic design eye and knowledge. With that, we would like to thank you, Fanny, from the bottom of our hearts and we are very happy that you have been a member of the board for so long.
For both the team in Athens and the team in Switzerland we have received new team members, whom you will meet in the next newsletter.
Until then we appreciate every support from you supporters all over the world, this is the only way we can continue our commitment. Thank you very much.
Content: Catherine Mosley, Johanna Käser
Date: 04.07.23
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