WITH the people - not FOR them!
«One Happy Family» is a community center on the Greek island of Lesvos. Lesvos is, due to the close distance to Turkey, an important waypoint for people fleeing from wars and crises in the Middle-East and Africa. These people stay on the island for many months, as the EU-Turkey deal hinders the continuation of their journey to the mainland. Because of the severe human rights situation in Turkey, they can also not be sent back in most cases. With our center, which is growing steadily and welcomes several hundred people every day, we fill gaps which have been created by insufficient humanitarian aid and lack of governmental intervention.
Our aim is to give a measure of dignity and self-determination back to the thousands of people which are stuck on Lesvos. In the center, there are many projects, which have been built upon request and initiative of the refugees.
The community center is not being built and run FOR the people, but WITH them. Together with people from different nations, volunteers and displaced people, it will become a community. The people from the camps are not only engaged in building and running but also in problem-solving and decision making. That’s how we want to give them back some independence, autonomy and a sense of responsibility. Those people often totally dependent on governmental help and NGOs. Most of them don’t want that. They want to help themselves. Self-determination instead of determined by others.
Who is the One Happy Family?
We are the non-profit association «One Happy Family» based in Burgdorf (Bern, Switzerland), which has the goal to help refugees and lead and operate the community center of the same name on the Greek island of Lesvos.
The center was started in February 2017 by a group of volunteers mainly from Switzerland and Greece. In cooperation with many partner organizations on the ground, the help of countless volunteers from all around Europe, and the inhabitants of the refugee camps, not only a community center has been built, but also the community itself.
In June 2017, we founded the independent association «One Happy Family» in order to have a solid foundation for our project. We work together with many partner organizations on-site who collaborate with us in exchanging know-how and sharing resources.
In the statutes of the association (German only) you will find all the details about the purpose and goals of the association. If the needs of the displaced people in the camps are covered in a satisfactorily through governmental or other organizations, we will cease our activities.
In March 2019 the German association One Happy Family - Support - Germany e.V. was founded by the former volunteers Julika Enslin and Giulia Berti. Since then, taxable donors in Germany can also deduct donations from their taxes.