Help now!
12 Oct

‘’We have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’’

Ross Ireland, 64, a semi-retired businessman from England.

This is my most memorable moment…
My favourite time of the day is when we close the main building to adults and the school kids come for their supper. They walk in singing songs and reciting the alphabet in English and they’re always happy and full of energy. It’s great to see that the kids are happy, even though they live in very bad circumstances.

This struck me the most…
The scale of the problem on this island. The number of people stuck here and the number of new people that arrive everyday. We would like to do more to help them, but it’s impossible for one organisation to do everything. At least when they visit One Happy Family they are treated with respect and being here is a positive experience for them.

One Happy Family is…
A haven in a living hell – a safe place for people to live a normal existence for a few hours every day.

This is what I would like to tell other people…
Despite the diversity of the people and the complexities of the problem we have many things in common as all humans do. Most of the people are fleeing wars and violence and genuinely need help.
We need support to carry on this work. Help from the outside is important to maintain the work that we and others are doing here.

My tasks in One Happy Family are mainly…
Organising building work, repairs and maintenance. Just generally keeping things going.
I enjoy taking part in the lunch service where we serve about 800 meals every day. I also help with the hygiene shop where we distribute basic items like soap, toothpaste and shampoo, also diapers to parents with babies.
I’m an enthusiastic but not very good chess player and when I arrived we only had 1 chess board so I bought another 10 so that more people could play which has become very popular. Chess is a really absorbing game and a good distraction from the problems of daily life. Amongst the visitors to One Happy Family there are an Iranian and an Afghan chess champion!

What do you think makes One Happy Family different from other similar organisations…
It’s the very successful recruitment of helpers from the camps who actually run mostly everything here. One Happy Family is organised in such a way that it facilitates through trust and cooperation rather than top down management which is great for efficiency – and the self esteem of the helpers.