Blog

Destroyed, fenced or soon not existing homes

Fire in Mavrovouni CampSeptember 27, there was information on social media about a fire in Mavrovouni Camp on Lesvos. A blaze set several containers on fire, luckily no one got injured. However, some people lost their belongings and paper which is a hard set back, as it is very complicated for asylum seekers and refugees

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Working together gets you forward

Updates from Victoria Community Centre and our Partners It feels like just yesterday when we first met with Silvia and JB from A Drop in the Ocean at Victoria Square to discuss a potential collaboration. Now, at Victoria Community Centre, we’ve been working as main partners since March 2022. A Drop in the Ocean aims

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Catch Ups and Rooftop Updates

Last week the OHF team, alongside those from our partner organisations, came together for an evening of conversation, food and music on our wonderful rooftop space here at Victoria Community Centre.Between busy schedules and important meetings, it can sometimes be hard to catch each other, so events like these are crucial for everyone to come

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The new multi-talent in our security team

Meet Mahdi! Mahdi works as a member of the security team here at OHF and has been with us for just over a month. A regular attender of OHF when based on Lesvos, Mahdi decided to work with us when he came to Athens, and can usually be found greeting visitors at the Welcome Desk

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Creating art with a smile

Meet Emma! Emma, an art therapist and textile designer from Scotland, volunteered with us in the summer. With her calm, friendly, helpful presence; open mind and big heart, she worked at the Café and re-started the art table, where she facilitated kids and adults alike to express themselves through arts and crafts.Fariba, who worked very

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You ask us, we ask you

Ask us a question:What would you like to know about people on the move and/or about their Situation in Greece? Are you interested in anything particular?  Tell us what you do:Do you also work together with people from other countries of origin, do you support asylum seekers in any way? We are curious to hear

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Relocated and pushed back

Eviction of oldest camp near Athens The Eleonas camp was scheduled to be closed in mid-August. This led to clashes between residents and activists and the police. The migrants do not want to be transferred again to a new “temporary” place, and long for long-term solutions and stability. Nevertheless, by the end of the year, all

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Calm but creative

VICTORIA COMMUNITY CENTRE Latest news from the Victoria Community Centre and our caféThe OHF café is a hub of activity and we have been busy with visitors, young and old, over the last few weeks! Alongside providing orange juice, coffee, WiFi and a space to rest and socialise, the café is also a place for

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OHF Charity Day in Basel

This month there was another OHF event in Switzerland. On Saturday, August 27, a charity day was held at the Lido in Basel. It was possible to register in advance for beach volleyball, paddle tennis and bocce tournaments.The whole day was spent playing and sweating (an OHF team consisting of board members, volunteers and former

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Goodbye Yahia!

As announced in the last newsletter, we say goodbye here to our coordination team member, Yahia. Yahia has been a valuable team member for several years and we would like to thank him from the bottom of our hearts for everything he’s done for One Happy Family. Yahia, with your calmed, level-headed and reflective nature,

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Dedicated without too many frills

Meet Fariba, in charge of our café at the Victoria Community Centre! If you ask around about Fariba, you will only hear sweet words.One of her teammates says of her: “She is kind and an excellent team player, always ready to collaborate, very active and involved in the activities of our community”.Our coordinator Akis says

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Feedback and Donations

Your feedback is important to usDo you have any questions or comments about this newsletter? A good idea, an input or a suggestion? We are happy to receive your feedback at newsletter@ohf-lesvos.org Donations for continuationAnd of course we continue to rely on your donations. In order to be able to continue operating the Victoria community

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Greece says it will try to retrieve migrant girl’s body from river islet  Greek migration minister: Seasonal work visas to give Bangladeshi migrants ‘dignity’

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It is always about people

Arrivals and PushbacksAccording to the Aegean boat report, 29 boats with 666 people on board arrived on the Greek islands in July 2022. And the same organisation documented 82 boats and 2183 people affected by pushbacks from the Greek side in the same period. At the same time, the Turkish government reported that during this

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Goodbye Lesvos & Active in Athens

VICTORIA COMMUNITY CENTER In July, we were again pleased to welcome many visitors to our Community Centre. In exact numbers, the Community Centre received 2059 visits and 1115 of these were specifically to OHF. However, we are still working to raise awareness of the Community Centre and continue to distribute vouchers for our welcome packs.

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Rooftop beautification

In typical OHF tradition, we always have something to decorate and paint. This time it was the roof terrace that got an upgrade and was beautified. We repainted the benches, got some extra tables and chairs and got some wonderful plants from Project Elea, which had to leave Eleonas Camp due to its upcoming closure.

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Goodbye Nicolas!

As announced, there is another coordination team member we have to say goodbye to: Nicolas! Nicolas joined our project in Lesvos in 2017 and co-founded the Swiss organisation One Happy Family. After being a board member in Switzerland, he joined the Lesvos coordination team. He was responsible for working with our partner organisations, donors on

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Open Job Position

Spread the word about our open job position for a Fundraising Manager! Find more information here.

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The situation remains tense

A climate of fear“I am concerned about the increasing criminalisation of humanitarian assistance in Greece.” said the special rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor about Greece, on her recent visit to the Aegean Islands at the end of June. Human right defenders are facing increasing prosecutions since 2019 when acting in solidarity with refugees

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Celebrations at OHF

VICTORIA COMMUNITY CENTRE Highlight of the MonthMonday, 20th June was the start of World Refugee Week. The idea behind this year’s theme “healing” is to promote and support healing through education, art, conversation and sport and coming together as a welcoming society.OHF held an open house event to celebrate the day. We had a table

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The OHF Table Tennis Tradition

And it goes on. Table tennis is being played in Athens again.Endless hours of table tennis and table tennis tournaments were played on Lesvos. And despite the limited space in Athens, we have also found space for our table tennis table here and can continue this tradition. And there are even the same duels being

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Photo exhibition by Refocus

Many things in Athens are new, but fortunately there are also some familiar constants.  One such example is our partner organisation Refocus. We are very happy and consider ourselves lucky to be able to work with them again here on the mainland, because the work with Refocus is always very exciting. For the World Refugee

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Once OHF, always OHF

Meet Abbas! Even though OHF in Athens is now smaller, we still need important team members to make our community center a safe and beautiful place. One of them is Abbas. He is our new member of the security team. But actually, he has been part of the One Happy Family for several years. In

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Volunteer, work or donate!

We are looking for volunteersOur recruitment process just restarted and we are looking for  volunteers who have social media experience, IT skills, experience working with children and graphic design. Come and join our team in Greece! Find more on our website. DonationsIf you can’t or don’t want to travel to Greece yourself, we are still very

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Many things raise questions

Living in AthensFor the last few years, the transfer from the Aegean islands to Athens was viewed by many as something positive, as they could finally leave the hell of the camps in the islands behind them. However, this transfer, officially organised or independently, did not have a positive effect for many. After the transfer,

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Many new offers and visitors

COMMUNITY CENTER VICTORIA Always something newDuring the month of May, the number of visitors to the Victoria Community Centre has increased steadily. More and more drinks are being served in our café and the atmosphere is livelier as people play games and chat.The growing number of visitors is also related to the fact that more

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Discussing OHF core values together

On the weekend of 14 and 15 May a small miracle happened: the whole coordination team and the board of the Swiss association were together in one place for the first time in 5 years. The event was a two-day workshop led by MAPS to better define our structures in the organisation and align them

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All the best for you, Fifie

Our coordinating team member Fifie says: OHF will always be my home. And we say: You will always be an important part of this One Happy Family, even though we had to say goodbye to you, a very valuable team member, this month. Our dear Fifie has decided to leave the coordination team and move

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OHF: a place for lessons, homework and coffee

​​Meet the family: Najibula Najibula is one of our regular visitors in the Victoria community center, ever since Drop in the Ocean started offering their education programmes to the community here in Athens. He is a dedicated student who attends English lessons with them. He is from Afghanistan and has been in Greece with his

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Volunteers and donations needed!

As you have read, our community center is receiving more and more visitors, so we are looking for volunteers again. If you are interested or know someone who would like to support us in Athens, you can find more information on our website. But above all we are still dependent on your financial support. We

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New arrivals and those pushed back

Arrivals of refugees from Ukraine to Greece Over 19’000 people from Ukraine have arrived in Greece in mid April 2022. The majority arrived through the Greek-Bulgarian land border but some arrived as well via flights to the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki. The government of Greece is very welcoming to them and has guaranteed reception capacity

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May we introduce: The Victoria Community Centre

VICTORIA COMMUNITY CENTRE Victoria Communiy Centre is openAt the end of  February OHF bid farewell to the community centre on Lesvos. And now, on the 4th of April, we as OHF and Drop In The Ocean (Dråpen i Havet) were happy to announce the official opening of the Victoria Community Centre that we run together

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Wonderful atmosphere

As said in our part about News from One Happy Family: The Victoria Community Center is open!  After months of preparing and organising it is finally happening and we’re more than happy to welcome everyone in Filis 68!  The opening ceremony was accompanied by musicians and so the atmosphere of One Happy Family on Lesvos

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The always active yet quiet author

Meet the Family: Helge Educator, psychologist, published author, co-founder of a museum, dance enthusiast… Helge has so many hats; but today we will focus on her as a beloved, long-term OHF volunteer. Helge first came to OHF in 2019 and stayed for 10 months. Sitting at one corner in the busy main hall, she started

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Financial support needed now

As mentioned several times in this newsletter, we are currently very dependent on your donations so that we can continue our existing projects and implement our new ideas. At the moment we still have some money left with which we can continue the existing projects for only 2 more months, but unfortunately there is not

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Summary and further reading

Read a good roundup of events and developments over the last few years on Lesvos:“A desaster waiting to happen: who was really responsible for the fire at Moria camp?” Differences of treatment by the Greek state, article from ECRE: https://ecre.org/greece-guarantees-of-capacity-for-ukrainian-refugees-while-the-situation-remains-dire-in-camps-across-the-country-government-body-finds-no-evidence-of-pushbacks/ Struggle to integrate: https://www.dw.com/en/greece-refugees-asylum-seekers-struggle-to-integrate/a-60687733 Article form Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/04/07/greece-using-other-migrants-expel-asylum-seekers

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Equal rights for all!

Apparently no evidence foundAfter four months of independent investigation, the Greek National Authority for Transparency has rejected any allegations of illegal push backs of asylum seekers trying to reach the country. The reports of Lighthouse and a wide consortium of European media, who analysed over 600 videos last year, made headlines internationally. They identified masked

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Two locations, one goal

March has been a busy month for OHF! Soon after bidding farewell to our beloved community centre on Lesvos and the hand over to Europe Cares with a wonderful event that felt like old OHF days, the team went to Athens to work on the preparations of our new community centre: OHF Victoria Community Centre,

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First visitors at OHF Victoria Community Center

As told in the ‘News from the Community Centre’ section, we welcomed our first visitors last week. It was wonderful to see the Community Centre getting livelier by the day, and of course we could count on the great support of our One Happy Family. Ernest was at the newly installed reception and welcomed the

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All this was OHF Lesvos

Suppliers at OHF LesvosOHF Lesvos wouldn’t have worked successfully without the collaboration with local suppliers. Leontis, amongst others, provided OHF with food and cafe supplies.Their efficiency has been incredible. Fifie, one of the coordinators, says “Back then, when we were still cooking, if we noticed that our freshly prepared food wouldn’t be enough for the

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Fundraising events are back!

On March 15, we were able to host an OHF fundraising event for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak! The fundraising event took place at the HeuBühne in Meilen ZH, Switzerland. During this evening, one could get general information about the topic of fleeing and the related facts and figures in an exhibition or

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Financial and political support

Support the free shopIf you can donate 24 Euros, we can support 50 people with salt. With a 44 Euros donation, we can provide toothbrushes to 50 people.With only 52 Euros, we can put sugar packages in 50 food bags.Your 60 Euros donation supports 50 people with a bag of rice.An 80 Euros donation can

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Insights

“No longer afraid to speak up” – A woman tells her story  Six Years of EU-Turkey Deal visualised by the ICRC

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Sad facts from the island and the mainland

Introduction to AthensWith OHF opening in Athens, we would like to give you a short overview of the Greek city: With more than 4000 years of history, Athens is Europe’s oldest capital and the birthplace of democracy. The city is home to around 660’00 people with more than 3 million in the greater urban area. 

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Time to say goodbye

Handover to Europe Cares After the recent announcement of stopping OHF’s community center activities on Lesvos by the end of February, we are happy to announce that the premises of the center will continue to be available for organisations to run their programs and activities for refugees and asylum seekers on the island thanks to

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A Big Thank You from Us to You

Five years of One Happy Family Community Centre on Lesvos, means five years of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people involved in making the Centre what it is today. All of the moments from the last five years stay close in our hearts. All the experiences we had have allowed us to go differently through the

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Updates from Athens

The Community Centre  While on Lesvos there is an atmosphere of departure and reminiscence, the project in Athens is starting to grow and blossom.We have had the keys to the new Community Centre for around 5 weeks now. It is near Victoria Square in Central Athens. Entering the new building has a very different feel

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OHF has changed my life

This speech was given at the farewell by our Head of Security Ernest. It was too beautiful not to share!“Thank you everyone for attending to say goodbye to OHF Lesvos, before we meet again in Athens.  Today is a special day for me, and very important for me to stand in front of you. Since

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The Greek all-rounder in the family

Meet Fotini!  Our Greek teacher, our allrounder, coordinator of Sporos garden project at OHF, and as one of our community volunteers says, “one of the pillars of OHF”! Fotini, from Athens, has been with us for two years now. She met with OHF as she was continuing her university studies on the island. She started

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