Blog

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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,

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

Insights

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

read more

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. 

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

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

read more

Stand with Ukraine

People should never have to flee! Not anywhere in the world, not in Europe!We absolutely condemn this new war in Ukraine and we fully stand by all those affected!Peace and freedom are human rights, which most people in Europe were able to enjoy for decades.We have to continue to uphold this by all means and

read more

Another winter brings much suffering

Arrivals and Departures in LesvosFrom the 1st till the 23rd January, there have been 116 arrivals via sea to Lesvos. In that same time period, 53 people departed to the mainland. There are currently 2,325 refugees and asylum seekers that still reside on Lesvos. 87% of the 2,325 are living in Moria 2.0. Men account

read more

Many changes at OHF

Big News! We have some exciting updates for you about our projects in Greece. We recently made the decision to rent a property in Athens for at least one year with the goal to provide an open community centre to the asylum seeker and refugee population living in Athens. The place is located close to

read more

OHF is packed into boxes

As you could read under “News from the community centre”, we have decided to move to Athens. Of course, such a change of location brings some logistical work. In order to be able to use as many things as possible from our centre in Lesbos in Athens, many things are already being packed into boxes.

read more

A bit of dignity through clean laundry

Meet one of our long term partners: The Lava Project! It is a medical laundry facility which started out working with the medical actors working inside the camp, supporting them in their efforts to get rid of scabies. Currently they are washing the bedding and clothing during bed bug outbreaks at the camp as well

read more

A spanish ping-pong and covid-testing expert

Meet Gustavo! Gustavo is our fantastic and funny volunteer from Spain, who has been with us at OHF for 3 months now. Here, people call him Moustafa, because it is a Farsi name.  Before volunteering, Gustavo was a visitor at OHF, and since those days, one of his favourite things to do at OHF is

read more

Support OHF and TLP

To start and run our new center in Athens and keep our free shop on Lesvos running, we need your support! Find information on how you can donate on our website https://ohf-lesvos.org/en/donate/ Or if you would like to support the important work of our partner “The Lava Project”, you can donate online under https://thelavaproject.org/donate-now/Also directly

read more

Another year in the camp

2021 on Lesvos in a nutshell 2021 started with a stronger attempt from the Greek authorities to censor NGOs and make working with asylum seekers, migrants and refugees more difficult. OHF had to handle this hurdle and re-register in Greece, but luckily thanks to the hard and detailed work of our volunteers in Switzerland and

read more

Thank you for another year full of new ideas

Update Shuttle Bus As announced in the last newsletter, we owe you an update regarding the shuttle bus. We are happy to announce that there is now a bus from the camp to OHF and back twice a day from Monday to Friday. This should enable our visitors to reach the Community Centre dry during

read more

International School of Peace closed

The International School of Peace (ISOP) has made some understandable and difficult decisions over these past months. Since March 2020, when the school burnt down and the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, many things changed and shifted from what we knew and how we worked. Their ability to fulfil their role in people’s lives they way

read more

You are OHF! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Running a community centre on Lesvos and supporting people on the move is not possible without you. Not only are the people engaging with people on the move on the ground important, but all our supporters around the world play a very central role. Without all of you reading this newsletter and all the other

read more

OHF got a new generation

Meet our OHF babies! 👶🏻👶🏼 After long months of waiting, our extended family has grown!  We finally got to meet Selin and Hussein. The two beautiful babies of our community volunteers Mohammed and Hosein.  Hosein has left Lesvos with his family and the newborn Selin to continue his journey to a better life. We’ll give

read more

We fell in love with the project

Meet Arturo and June Our new amazing social media guys from Italy and Spain have been here with us since October. Arturo is a very smiling and charismatic guy. He is very creative and always shows it by coming up with new ideas for the community. Arturo likes to be at the registration or at

read more

Postcards and Donations

As you read in the section “News from the Community Centre”, we unfortunately had to make the decision to offer a more limited selection at OHF. But to be able to do even that, we need your help. We have designed wonderful postcards which you can now buy in Switzerland and Germany. With each card

read more

Stay Informed

“People still missing despite major rescue effort as smugglers switch to more perilous route from Turkey” reports The Guardian. Five years of migration crisis in pictures by POLITICO. The Council of Europe announces New Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees: Leyla Kayacik

read more

Solidarity with all

Not enough food Up to 60% of current residents of Greek refugee camps do not have access to enough food because of a halt to cash assistance for asylum seekers and denial of food support to both rejected asylum seekers and recognized refugees. A law that was passed last year came into effect this month

read more

New and proven

Low visitor numbers The number of visitors is dropping- especially because the weather has changed and is getting worse. For the people who live in the camp, opportunities to leave are still unfortunately quite limited. The idea of organising a shuttle bus from the camp to One Happy Family has been proposed. This would enable

read more

Reusable bags from Manroof

Manroof supports us with 500 reusable bags per month. Those bags are made out of recycled banners. At OHF, we use those bags at the free online shop. They are packed with the ordered hygiene products and the people come and can pick up their individual orders.  Fifie, our coordination team member who is responsible

read more

Meet MVI Greece

Medical Volunteers International (MVI), our incredible partner, offer mental health services here at OHF for both adults and children who suffer from severe mental health disorders and mental health complaints. We asked Paolo, the children’s program coordinator, to tell us more. “We provide mental health and psychoeducation group activities to children between 3-17 years old.

read more

Coming back every year

Meet Romy! Romy is our lovely volunteer from Switzerland. She has been coming back to One Happy Family every year since we opened our gates, which we are incredibly thankful for since she is a ray of sunshine, making OHF a happier place for both our visitors and volunteers.  Her favourite things to do here

read more

Goodbye to our technology extraordinaire and teacher

Meet Hosain! This month we said another special goodbye to one of our incredible volunteers, Hosain.  Hosain has been with us for more than a year. During his time here he spread happiness and joy to all of our visitors and volunteers.  Hosain is our technology extraordinaire. He ran computer classes for our volunteers and

read more

Support the NGO Briefing

Support the recommendations for the Members of the European Parliament on how they should improve the situation for refugees and migrants in Greece: read, share and spead the word about the joint NGO Briefing

read more

Read some updates

In the fight between Poland and Belarus, refugees are the ones losing: Read here full article More Background on the “case” against the three humanitarians: Read here at Al Jazeera or watch here more EUROnews

read more

No rights, no money, no food

Cover-up documented At the end of September, 25 people from northern Iraq arrived in the village of Vasilitsi on the Greek mainland. But the next day, there was no trace of them. The mayor as well as several local residents documented their arrival and the whole situation. This was reported by the Tagesschau (German News

read more

One Happy Family – one big stage

Visitors to OHF Sadly, the rules regarding entering and exiting the camp have gotten stricter in the past weeks. People are only allowed to leave the camp for a few hours, once a week. Sometimes people are lucky and are able to get more time out of the camp. This seems dependent upon who is

read more

First aid training

Last week we received an amazing and important first aid training provided by stichtingbootvluchteling. We were taught a number of lifesaving procedures from CPR to helping someone who is choking. A massive thank you to BRF for providing us with this training and helping us make OHF the safest place it can be!

read more

Computer Certificates

We have had another cohort graduate from the ICDL course, which is still being run by our amazing teacher Hosain. Hosain had some beautiful words to say about his students: “I like how hard working my students are. They always do their best to come even when they struggle to get out of the camp.

read more

Reusable Pads

The Women’s space has been busy these last weeks with new sewing projects starting!The Pachamama project is an amazing network of volunteers around the world making reusable pads and distributing them to refugees and other vulnerable communities. The project inside the Women’s space has been running for a couple of weeks now, and makes around

read more

OHF’s IT god

Meet Nicolas! Nicolas, our incredible coordinator from Switzerland, has been with us for 3,5 years! He is our partner coordinator but also our IT god. One of his latest projects is our new fabulous website for the visitors. His favourite thing to do at One Happy Family is going around to the different partners and

read more

The all-around handywoman

Meet Lisa! Lisa, our wonderful volunteer from Germany, has been with OHF for six months now. She is our all-around handywoman and really makes the community centre shine and sparkle with her magic touch. Lisa loves to paint and be creative. One of her happiest memories at OHF was when she was painting the online

read more

The world’s best barber

Goodbye Abbas! Last week we said a special goodbye to our incredible, fantastic, amazing, friend and volunteer, Abbas. First of all, we would like to thank you for always being a sunshine here at OHF! We were incredibly fortunate to have Abbas, the world’s best barber, resident tour guide and all-around volunteer! He was always

read more