Blog

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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…and another Goodbye

Selin, who has fantastically taken care of a lot of administrative work and finances over the last two years, is leaving us at the end of October. Dear Selin, your laughter and positive nature have enriched our One Happy Family and we will miss you a lot! We are sad to say goodbye not only

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Sign the Frontex referendum

For our supporters from Switzerland: The collection of signatures for the Frontex referendum has begun. We demand: No money for human rights violations! Please sign the referendum. Violence, misery and death have become a sad daily routine at the EU’s external borders. Refugees from war zones are beaten up, robbed and sent back. Frontex plays

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One year after the fire

Record number of low arrivalsAccording to the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, the number of arrivals to Greece is down 53% in the first eight months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. Arrivals to Lesvos are down 75% during this same period. As of 19th September, there are 3,432 refugees and asylum

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Some insights into our daily life at OHF

Leaving the camp  Unfortunately, during the last weeks, the rules were changed again when it is possible for residents to leave the camp and when not. This has unfortunately also led to fewer people being able to visit our community centre again. Currently people who are with their police number on a list are allowed

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Colorful bubbles

And on and on the One Happy Family site gets more and more colourful. Our extraordinary volunteers together with our amazing visitors have been upgrading the community centre during the last days. The latest big colour change is that our free online shop has been given a new look.  We asked Chrysa, the brain behind

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Library

Have you ever heard of Abibliophobia – the fear of running out of reading material? Don’t worry, at OHF we have the cure! We have books for all ages and in many languages.  Now thanks to our fantastic handyman Rowan (once again!), We have brand new bookshelves. Since the library is not being used as

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One of our superheroes

Wahid is one of our superhero security team members from Afghanistan and has been with us for 5 months.  He joined OHF because he wanted to meet people from all over the world. He currently knows four languages: Pashto, Dari, Turkish, English and he is learning Greek!  Ping Pong is one of his favourite things

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“…no matter…we work as a team.”

Meet Kirstine! Today we want to say a special goodbye to our lovely volunteer Kirstine from Denmark! Kirstine has been with us for five months and has been making our social media shine, spark and flourish. She was inspired to come here to work as a volunteer because “at OHF, no matter skills or previous

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Join our supporters call 

Once again, the coverage of the situation for refugees at the EU external border has disappeared from the majority of the media. Therefore, we want to give an insight into the situation on Lesvos and inform about how the OHF has adapted to the current situation. We look forward to seeing many familiar and new

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Some important news

Afghanistan is facing a new, urgent crisis, and is fearing the consequences of the takeover of the Taliban. As a reaction to that, Greece is strengthening its borders out of fear of a new influx of frightened refugees. Migratory movements into Europe over land and sea are, until now, running as usual.  However, the Evros Land

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Gym, Café, upcycling and more changing stories!

The long wait is over – the Gym has finally reopened! 
The gym has been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, however now we are able to open it as an outdoor space under new rules. The manager of the Gym, Rahman, is so excited. 

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Generations of Head of Security at OHF

But what does the security actually do? Is it only about looking like big policemen walking around speaking a secret language on a walkie-talkie? No – it is much different. The security team is the Welcome Committee of OHF. Ernest, our current Head of Security (read more about him in the Meet the Family part)

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The garden at OHF is blooming!

Our partner organisation Sporos has been working tirelessly in the organic garden over Spring and Summer, being busy with many new projects.  All the hard work from Winter and Spring has paid off and now it is harvesting time. Zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants have been picked from the garden and given to visitors at

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Meet Esmatullah!

Esmatullah is a frequent visitor at One Happy Family. “I come to relax my mind”. I really appreciate and enjoy having a place to come outside of the camp. Inside the camp you see many people facing difficult times and problems. People wait for so long for an answer to their case and children lack

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OHF is “a place to breath”

Mirto is one of our all-around volunteers. She, as well as other general volunteers, decides in our daily morning meeting which role and tasks are hers for the day. This means she gets to do a lot of different things at OHF.  “The Online Shop is my absolute favorite job because you get to speak

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“OHF connects people with each other”

Meet Ernest! Ernest has been with OHF for 2 years – and he has been in the security team the whole time. “Why would I change? I like it!” he says. “I like to be the first person people meet at the entrance to OHF. We are not only responsible for making everyone feel safe,

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Ways to support

Over the years we have had many incredible helpers and visitors from Afghanistan. The news coming from Afghanistan these past weeks have been extremely distressing to both see and hear. We all can do something, to help support Afghani people, both in Afghanistan and where they may be resettled in these coming months. The following

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The month of July

Covid-19 in Greece and Lesvos Since Monday July 26th, children ages 12-15 are now eligible to be vaccinated in Greece. Around 47% of Greeks are fully vaccinated. 10 out of 11 million Greek nationals have received at least one shot. In July, infection rates were comparable with those from April, just before Greece opened its

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Back to being a busy place

Daily business back at OHFThere is a great atmosphere here on the ground with the volunteers. Many of them have not seen the pre-covid days when we had more than 500 visitors a day.  It is lovely to see happy visitors return, even if in limited numbers. Like every summer, our opening hours are now from

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Europe, can you look me in the Eyes?

In July, portraits of residents from the Kara Tepe camp were installed in 16 different European cities, as an exhibition from the famous photographer, JR. The exhibition is part of the larger “Inside Out Project”.  “Europe, Look me in the Eyes”, originally started in Lesvos, however it soon was echoed by groups across the European

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“OHF … a very magical place…”

Rahman is our all-around man at One Happy Family. He helps with everything from registration of our visitors, preparing lunch, and taking part in distributions. He joined the family last year by teaching in the gym at OHF when it was still open. “I hope the gym will open soon because I really want to

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Meet Baddy

A dog is believed to be ‘Man’s best friend’. Baddy is everyone’s best friend at OHF!! Every day Baddy provides lots of laughter and joy to both visitors and volunteers – adults and children. “Baddy is not just a part of the family – Baddy is the heart of the family. She was born to

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Take action!

One Happy Family has always been able to continue its activities thanks to all of you! You were making all of this possible by supporting us with your thoughts and following our activities, but also by donating.  After this chaotic year that we all experienced, the Community Centre is finally back to being its vibrant

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Situation for people on the move in Greece

More movement More and more people are allowed to leave the Mavrovouni camp (Moria 2.0), since restrictions began to lift in June. Many people are also allowed to leave the island, but not on official transfers and unfortunately, not with official documents. This is problematic because they are then stuck in Athens without access to official support. (Hier

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Reopening for visitors

Updates from OHF This month was a big month! We had our reopening for visitors and we’re so happy about it! Slowly there will be more and more visitors able to spend time at OHF.  We have a registration system by the gate and currently allow a maximum of 180 visitors on OHF ground a

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New board members

One Happy Family was just an idea in Spring 2017 and it has quickly become a place with many different ideas from many people, coming together to create and provide a safe and bubbly space.  After a bit of a chaotic start in Spring 2017 more and more people came to help at the newly

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News from the Shop

It might not look big and organized from the outside, but from this container, we serve around 100 men a day with hygiene packages! “It requires a lot of logistic work and organization to run the shop. We take care of the orders, make sure we do not run out of popular products, and that

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“My dream is to use my skills to help others…”

Meet Hussein! Hussein is from Afghanistan and has worked as a teacher in the CyberCafe with One Happy Family since the fall of 2020. But he has been a teacher and what he himself describes as a “technology fan” most of his life.  “I spend all my life learning computer science. I love video editing

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Putting a smile on everyones face: Falak

Meet Falak. Falak is working in the Café at One Happy Family. She is serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water, and biscuits to all visitors and volunteers. She has now been working with One Happy Family for more than a year. Falak, who is from Syria, prefers to get just one teaspoon of sugar in

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Some must reads

English 16 Greek prosecutors investigate 147 pushbacks Greek (translation via Browser possible) From the Ministry of Immigration, Turkey is designated a safe third country for Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi and Somalis.  German Eine unserer treuen Helferinnen und Vorstandsmitglied vom OHF, Fanny Oppeler, berichtet: “Nach sechs Monaten auf Lesbos: Wie abnormal normal es hier ist” Im Elend des

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Overview, May 2021

Situation in Greece Greece opened its borders to European countries as well as Australia, North Macedonia, the UAE, the USA,  Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and many more.  A negative covid test or proof of vaccination must be provided at arrival. The EU is still considering opening its Schengen Borders to world tourism.  Currently, 100 people are in quarantine in the Mavrovouni Camp,

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Ready to reopen

The Bazaar and hygiene packs at OHF We finished the distribution of clothes to single men at OHF this month. In total, we served 1,628 men which was a huge achievement! Again, we thank all our partner organisations who helped with the donations, logistics and distribution. Our online shop for hygiene products is still going

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