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One Happy Family

May 2019

Situation on Lesvos

Some 6,900 human beings are stuck on the island of Lesvos. Around 4,700 of these people reside in Moria and 1,250 in Kara Tepe. The rest of the refugee population reside in other facilities on the Island or have sought out their own accommodation.
Depending on the different statistics around 70% to 90% are people from Afghanistan.
According to the statistics of the UNHCR (published on the 15thof April 2019) Women account for 22% of the population and children for 42%, of whom more than 7 out of 10 are younger than 12 years old. Approximately 17% of the children are unaccompanied or separated and are mainly Afghan.
Comparing to this time last year, you can see that the refugee population of Lesvos is changing. As said above, mainly Afghani people are residing on Lesvos now.
Regardless if there are less arrivals to the Island than this time last year, the fact remains that these are human beings having to live for months or years under very harsh conditions.

Transfers from Samos to Lesvos
There have been 56 human beings transferred recently to Lesvos from Samos. Transferring people from one overcrowded island to the next overcrowded island isn’t a solution. The situation on Samos, as well as on Lesvos, remains very bad. Around 4,000 people are stuck on Samos. With summer coming the “jungle”, as they call it, is getting worse than ever with more and more trash rotting and the people fighting against rats, bedbugs and scabies.

Court trial
This week the trial against the 122 refugees, that have been arrested after last year’s attack from violent people against refugees on Sappho Square, is going to take place. Many witnesses will report what they’ve seen: That the refugees were taking part in a calm and non-violent demonstration, while exposed to brutal attacks, with no real protection from the police.

Pikpa, financial support needed
Pikpa camp is supported by a committed team of local and international volunteers, whose decision to join our community reflects the image of the society that we work towards. Lesvos Solidarity, who runs Pikpa, is in serious need of sustainable funding. Please consider making a donation to enable Pikpa to provide community-based solidarity to those in need. Visit http://lesvossolidarity.org/en/donate4for more information.

Picture of the month

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-28 at 16.07.48
We have many celebrities in our One Happy Family Community – ranging from Cameroon football stars to Afghani volleyball players, FIFA coaches to Chess Champions. So, when the paparazzi arrived at the gates one sunny day, we weren’t too surprised. However, it turned out they wanted to see some actress called Katie Holmes. We couldn’t understand why…

Inside the projects

As the situation in Lesvos has changed over the years so have the roles of the NGOs based here. Our partner Together for Better Days was one of the first grassroot organisations to form in response to the refugee crisis in 2015, providing aid to thousands of people in the Olive Grove camp. Now, its focus has moved away from emergency aid and towards education and empowerment. One of its projects is the Eco-hub garden - a rare place of calm and tranquillity in our lively community centre. The garden project came to life in 2017 and since then has grown in size and ideas. Last month they re-launched their life sciences classes for refugee children, teaching around 100 students every week about the environment in a hands-on, dynamic and therapeutic way. Volunteer Nadav has been co-running the classes. “We tell the kids to smell the soil, show them that there are different types of soil by touching them, sometimes they are more clay -like, other times sandier, or more organic. We have a word or two about worms and this is our lesson.”
Nadav, who has been volunteering for 3 months, tells us that the classes have been a positive experience, both for him and the children. But he adds: “There’s still so much to do! You know, climate change!”

#MeetTheFamily: Ahmad

“My name is Sayed Ahmadzia Ebrahimi. I am from Afghanistan, where I was a filmmaker and TV producer. Now, I am one of the helpers here at the OHF. I work with Refugee Media Production, one of the partners of the community centre. Refugee Media Production organises different workshops including photography, writing, video production and radio podcast workshops. I am helping with translation, designing posters and logos, making videos. I also teach video editing and photography. I have completed a season of radio podcasts called ONE HAPPY PODCAST and videos for One Happy Family and their sponsors for their social media platforms.
I think One Happy Family is a great place for refugees to spend time and improve their skills. There are lots of different activities, workshops and courses here, so people can come here and prepare for their future. The centre also has a great and friendly atmosphere!”

Thank you, Ahmad, for being part of One Happy Family and helping visitors to express themselves so creatively!
To find out more about Ahmad’s work with Refugee Media Production, click on the link to discover their radio podcasts: https://ohf-lesvos.org/en/category/podcasts/

English is an international language which is very much important for every refugee to learn to help them in communicating with different people from different countries. That’s why One Happy Family have open their doors to people who want to learn English to help them in their lives."
Abdul, the new Adult School Director

News from the Community Centre

OHF Support Germany
Good NEWS! There is now a "One Happy Family" in Germany!
Former volunteers, Julika Enslin and Giulia Berti from One Happy Family - Community Centre, Lesvos founded the German association One Happy Family - Support - Germany e.V. For the past couple of days, the non-profit has been recognized and therefore donations from people subject to taxation in Germany can be detracted from taxes.

You can donate via the following information:
One Happy Family - Support - Germany e. V.
GLS Bank
IBAN: DE88 4306 0967 1235 7189 00

As like always, the money goes directly to into the running of the One Happy Family Community Centre. Without any administrative expenses in Germany, any renting costs for an office, any payments for the fundraising work the team does, the money can go directly to Greece, where it is needed most.
For any questions or comments, you can contact Julika and Giulia directly under germany@ohf-lesvos.org

Happy Birthday to us!
Two years ago, we opened the doors of OHF for the first time. We had no idea what this project would become, how it would evolve and expand or the effect it would have on the lives of the hundreds of people who walk through its doors every day.
We celebrated our second birthday with a special lunch for our wonderful visitors and gave out gifts to every one of our helpers and volunteers - the people who make this unique place possible.

Education, Education, Education
The adult school has seen some big changes over the last few months. With more teachers and a new registration system, we’ve seen over 300 people sign up for English lessons and dozens more for Greek! The school is about to see more exciting changes in the months to come, as its management has now handed the project over to the helpers! The new adult school directors, Abdul and Maryam will be trained in management, administration and teaching skills, so they can lead one of OHF’s largest projects and deliver much needed language skills to refugees.

More room for the kitchen
For too long the kitchen team has been confined to chop, cook and clean in a room the size of a garden shed. These days are now over thanks to wonder-carpenter Faraz who has built us a bright blue kitchen extension. A bigger kitchen means an even bigger party!

New magazine: Refugee Journal
The public discourse around refugees is too often taken away from the refugees themselves. This is why OHF’s partner Refugee Media Production is teaching journalism skills to equip its students with the tools they need to reclaim their own narrative. Their most recent writing workshop finished with an exhibition that showcased the first edition of Refugee Journal - a magazine researched, written and designed by its dedicated team of students.
To get your copy of Refugee Journal, email mail@wherebordersmeet.com or come to the media studio in OHF to pick one up.

Permaculture workshop
Refugees and locals have been working side by side to learn and envision solutions to the biggest problems every one of us faces in our rapidly warming world. The two-week course hosted by OHF partners Low-Tech and Permaculture for Refugees taught 25 participants how to make different kinds of compost, come up with their own permaculture designs and utilize waste products for beneficial purposes- for example transforming harmful plastic bottles into hangable salad beds! See the headpicture.
Content: Bethany Rielly, Capucine Coninx, Jael Tobler
Date: 29.03.2019
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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