01 Aug

A unique and a safe haven for a lot of people

Thoughts of Jael To and Noemi Fricker, two of our One Happy Family Volunteers, after working with One Happy Family for a couple of days.

The media seems to have forgotten about the reality that thousands are still fleeing war zones… People are still coming almost daily to Lesvos and other Greek Islands with inflatable boats – searching for a safe place to live in peace… There are still smaller, private funded NGOs and grassroots organizations helping these newly arrived people at the beach. People are still deported to Turkey and still, we get informations about illegal pushbacks by the coastguard – even if everyone is aware of the bad conditions for refugees in Turkey.

After arriving on the island, people have to live for the first month in Moria Refugee Camp. Families may be granted to live somewhere else, while many single men and women are stuck. Moria Camp, a former prison built for 500 criminals, then extended for up to 2’000 people, now holds about 3’200 people fleeing from terrible conditions in their home countries. Children are seeking a place to stay, a place to learn, a place to laugh. Women are risking everything for a better future for their children, wanting to be able to provide their children a safe place to grow up and themselves a place to live in peace. Men try to forget about the suffering back home. All are seeking a life where human rights are respected.

“If I don’t witness it, if I don’t try to see the whole picture, if I don’t build an opinion, if I don’t act when things go totally wrong – I would be ashamed of myself.”

These people demand to be known. They demand that we share our knowledge about their situation. They demand to be treated in a way that one would treat their family and friends. The One Happy Family – Community Center provides a safe place where beneficiaries can spend their time and get back some self determination. This Community Center is so special since it’s not made and run for the refugees but it works together with them. It provides a room to be just a human being and not primarily a refugee. It provides a safe place where everyone can develop his or her own ideas, where you can sit quietly and have a coffee if you wish for it and where people from all kind of backgrounds gather together.

It is unique and a safe haven for a lot of people, but this project needs your support:

Donate, if you think that these people fleeing from war deserve to have a safe space outside of the camps and get their basic needs such as clothes, food, and a strong community.

14 Jul

Happy people do good things

„Happy people do good things“ – as simple as it is, that’s what I’ve learned at the OHF. And it is a challenge to spread happiness in a context where crimes against humanity caused by the European closed-doors policy become the most visible. Deportations, inhuman conditions in the camps, a lack of perspective – all these EU-constructions are not what people should be confronted with after having experienced war and violence. The more important it gets to have a kind of „safe haven“ while being stuck and forced to wait, an open space to come together, meet friends, laugh and relax. And the OHF shows how it works: solidarity, diversity and tolerance in practice, not for but with each other, at eye-level.

The OHF is a role-model for what large parts of the European affluent society should put into practice urgently, by opening a space where human values are upheld and that allows expression as well as potential and resources to unfold – as far as possible in the context of a humanitarian crisis. You rock!