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17 Dec

Refugee story tellers Episode 1

This first episode of the new Podcast series from Refugee story tellers, is made from one of our most dedicated students, Khudadad:

In this episode, he explains to us through an interview with a refugee from Afghanistan like himself, about the smuggler’s route – how it works and how thousands of people smuggle themselves to Europe as the only solution they have for a peaceful life.

Then he goes on about how people get sent to the military camp Moria, where the hardships continue for months or even years.

In the next episode, we take our listeners inside the camp to understand a daily routine of one of the resident’s living in a tent in camp Moria.

31 Oct

‘’Coming here made me realise, that every individual matters’’

Silke Reiter, 36, anthropologist from Austria

This is my most memorable moment…
I am super impressed by the kitchen team. Cooking for so many people in such a tiny place is an incredible task. The kitchen team is so dedicated to their work and they always try to make the best out of everything and they are cooking delicious, nutritious and healthy food.

This struck me the most…
The stories that the people keep telling me about the life in Moria. When I sit down with them, they often start talking to me about what they experience and they show me pictures and videos of it. What especially hits me every time, are the horrible conditions that especially people in the tents have to live in. It is hard for me to deal with their stories, I really can’t imagine how it must be for them, to live there, to go through all of this. Still and nevertheless, when they come to One Happy Family, they have a smile on their face and they are really trying to have a good time! I think, as a volunteer, I can learn a lot from them and it reminds me how privileged we are. 

One Happy Family is…
A lovely place, where people have the possibility to hang out together and have a good time. I think it’s a good way for them to be distracted for a while of what they have been through and get some time out from the life in Moria.

This is what I would like to tell other people…
I think that everyone who has or could find the possibility to volunteer with refugees, should do it. It doesn’t matter if it is back home or somewhere abroad. You will meet the people behind the statistical numbers. This makes it real and you will understand that all of them are humans like you and me. I think it is our responsibility to speak up for those who can’t and give them a voice. We have the power to do so, instead of them. 

My tasks in One Happy Family are…
I help out wherever needed. I help out in most of the projects. The bank, the barber, the tailor, the cafe, etc. I try to help improve whatever I can and also learn from whoever I can, as much as I can.

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.

02 Oct

One Happy Podcast #9

In this episode we will talk about different topics:

First, Mary from the Pedagogical Institute of LA that volunteered in One Happy Family for few weeks, will explain what ‘The Nest’ is and how and who started it, what it can offer to children and why it is very important here.

Then 3 of our visitors will talk about their situation in Moria and their dreams.

Aref is here on the island since 8 months, fortunately he got the blue stamp recently. Now he has to wait for his sister and her family. Listen to what he says is happening right now on Lesvos.

Hassan is here since 2 years and continuously gets the red stamp, the only things he wants is going to Athens.

Khodadad is here since 1 year and 3 months, continuously getting the red stamp, he doesn’t care anymore now, until his situation will change he just spends his time to get skills for his future. Listen in the podcast what he has to say about Moria.

Enjoy the episode and let us know what you think ✨

26 Sep

‘’ We need to keep fighting for people’s human rights!‘’

Lily Peck, 27, agriculture/ plant sciences PhD student from England

For the past 5 weeks Lily has been working with us in One Happy Family for the second time this year. After this experience, she wants to raise more awareness in her home country. ‘’People think that the crisis here on Lesvos is over. It is not over and that is why we need to keep raising awareness in our home countries.’’

This is my most memorable moment…
‘’My most memorable moment is our day trip to the women’s festival in Eressos with a group of women from Moria. The women’s house in One Happy Family and it’s visitors had been working on making bags out of used clothes, including a wedding dress, and we sold those bags at the festival to raise money for the women’s house.
They told me that they loved the trip because they never really get out of Moria or Mytilini. We spend time swimming, eating lunch and hanging out in the sun, listening to music. When we dropped the women off at Moria, they told me that they wish they could turn back the clock to the start of the day so they could do this day all over again.’’

This struck me the most…
‘’The strength and the bravery of the helpers and the visitors in One Happy Family. I also worked with the women’s swimming class at Sport For Refugees. The strength and the bravery that these women showed by getting back into the water really amazed me. Mostly all of them have had a traumatic experience crossing over from Turkey. You can see that they are scared to get in and put their heads under water. But seeing them trying to overcome their fear and learning to swim was incredible’’

One Happy Family is…
‘’A utopian communist society where everyone is equal regardless of religion, status or age. Everyone here is treated fairly and with love and respect.’’

This is what I would like to tell other people…
‘’The crisis here is not over, even though it’s not in the media anymore. People are still arriving here, for example there were over 500 new arrivals in one weekend. We need to keep raising awareness and promoting the organisations that are trying to do their best to help out here on Lesvos. We need to keep fighting for people’s human rights, because they cannot do it themselves while they are stuck here. The people here are fleeing genuine persecution or danger and we should never forget that in Europe, where often the humanity is removed, and the situation here is seen as a problem. We have to keep raising awareness in our home countries.’’

My tasks in One Happy Family were…
‘’Supporting the 3 helpers, Sara, Zahra and Hanan, in the women’s house to make it a calm, peaceful and empowering environment. I introduced a new program while I was here, which includes key health advice from DocMobile once a week, legal advice and English classes.
As I told before I also helped out at Sport For Refugees with the swimming classes and the running classes. It was so good to help, support and engage young people to take them out of Moria and make them do physical excercises.’’

12 Sep

One Happy Podcast #7

This week we talk about how people deal with foreign languages and situations where they got misunderstood, had an awkward situation or laughed because of funny mistakes.

We will also introduce the professional skills workshop with Danielle and Cliff. What was important for them while they were here, how did people participate and what skills did they adopt?

In the end we will explain you some expressions and words that you can only understand when you are here in Lesvos. For example what does it mean, when you say: ‘Mobile phone Alibaba.’ 

Have fun listening and let us know what you think in the comments.

12 Sep

‘I didn’t know I could learn so much from other people in just a few weeks’

Anja Otth, 25, social work student from Switzerland

After working with refugees in Switzerland, Anja decided to come to Lesvos to see things from a different point of view. She wanted to see what the people here are going through so she could use this experience in her work in Switzerland. ‘Working here as a volunteer on Lesvos taught me to see things from another perspective. In my time on Lesvos I learned so much from the people that are here.’ 

 

This is my most memorable moment…
The thing that I really liked to do was the cleaning day. All the volunteers and helpers were working together to make One Happy Family even more beautiful! We started the day with some yoga to relax our minds and bodies and I really enjoyed this because it was also a kind of team-building thing. Days like this make the team grow even closer to each other.’

This struck me the most…
When I worked in Switzerland I had a very professional role so it was easier for me to keep my distance from the people. Being here, working as a volunteer so close with the people is different. I heard a lot of personal stories and the whole situation comes so close! When I talked with people who have been here for a long time, I heard many rough and touching stories. I knew living here was hard before I came here, but I didn’t realise how many things are actually going wrong here, on this island.
One moment that is really stuck in my mind, is my visit to the lifejacket graveyard and realising that the inside of the lifejackets actually suck up the water instead of making them float, because of the cheap quality.’ 

One Happy Family is…
‘A safe place were people can learn from each other and where people get the opportunity to use their skills and share this with others.’

This is what I would like to tell other people…
I think it would be good if everyone once experienced how it is to work here so they can see what is actually going on. For the 1,5 years that One Happy Family now exists I am so surprised by how it grew and how it is still growing and helping the people in such a positive way! I hope that more people will come here and spread the idea around so more places like this will appear.’

My tasks in One Happy Family were…

I was coordinating the adult school, the youth space and the guitar classes for the youth and the adults. I also helped out wherever my help was needed.

26 Aug

One Happy Podcast #5

This Episode is all about the One Happy Family currency the ‘Drachma’.

What is Drachma? Where does this name come from?

Where can I use Drachma?

How many Drachmas do I need for a tea or a coffee? 

How does the new recycling idea for the café work?

How much costs a shampoo?

What do we have in our shop?

How many Drachmas do I need to play one round of Playstation Fifa?

Where do we actually issue the Drachma for the entire center?

Those and many more questions will be answered in this week’s Podcast.

And what would happen if the Drachma would take over the world financial market? As always a little comedy in the end to make you smile and let you digress into a fantasy world where Drachma rules the world 😁

15 Aug

One Happy Podcast #4

This episode is all about the volunteers. 

We chat with Sam, who volunteered in One Happy Family for 2 months. If you want to know how your time as a volunteer in OHF could look like, listen to Sam’s stories, experiences, laughter and statements.

We also asked Aimerance, who works in the Café how she feels about the volunteers who come and go all the time and how she feels sad and happy about that at the same time.

We will have a sneak peak into the pottery workshop, talking to Hugo and a short comedy dialog about the usual small talk with volunteers, that for sure will make you smile.

Enjoy and let us know about your own volunteer experiences!