Help now!
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!

07 Aug

One Happy Podcast #3

Sam, Zahra, Ali, Paul, Clara, Emilia, Mindy, Reza are helpers, volunteers and visitors of One Happy Family. In our 3rd Podcast we asked them what their favourite part of #OneHappyFamily is.

Primary health care, sort out medical histories, treat chronic illnesses and acute problems, assist in social and psychological problems; @DocMobile is doing a lot everyday. Listen to Lucia, one of their coordinators, and get more informations.

What is water? Do you know how important water is? – A short comedy to make you laugh in the end😀

What is your favourite part of One Happy Family?

Enjoy our new podcast and let us know what you think in the comments!

31 Jul

One Happy Podcast #2

One Happy Family would not be One Happy Family without our amazing helpers and volunteers from all over the world!

On today’s episode we meet the people who help and volunteer in our community centre. Listen which projects they are doing and hear them share some of their favourite memories of the place.

We hope you enjoy our new podcast!

Next week, we are launching a comedy episode. Stay tuned!

23 Jul

One Happy Podcast #1

After workshops, practise and dedication, we are happy to announce that our small radio team has now released the first episode of our new podcast show, “One Happy Podcast”.

“One Happy Podcast” is a new project which covers activities and stories from #OneHappyFamily. We look deep into the different activities and projects in the centre, as well hear stories from the inspiring guests we have amongst us daily.

Every Monday we share a new episode with a different theme.

This #FirstEpisode is an overview over who we are, what we do and what we stand for. Also one of our coordinators shares the story of One Happy Family and our guests express what the community center means for them.

Share and let us know what you think!

18 Jul

‘Kindness can go a long way’

Ashley and Jordan Johnsen

Living in the United States, Ashley and Jordan Johnsen know the refugee crises is a hot topic. But with Trump as their president, they say there is not a lot of information about displaced people. A reason to come to Lesvos to see the situation themselves.

‘Trump dominates our news cycle. And his administration does not really care about refugees. We wanted to come here, so we could share our experience with the world.

We knew it was going to be a difficult and emotional experience. But we did not realize that it also would be so enjoyable. These people have suffered and survived. And they continue to survive by living in terrible conditions. But despite all of this, they have such a positive attitude. We are amazed’.

We came to Lesvos, because …
‘We wanted to be able to interact with refugees. We could have sent money, but it was important for us to meet the people first hand. We believe that kindness can go a long way. The people we have met have suffered a lot. They are treated as numbers in the camps. We wanted to show them that there are people in the world who empathize with them on an equal base. We came here, because ‘just’ being kind to someone, can make a big difference’.

These were our tasks …
‘Ashley mainly worked in the woman house. This was interesting. A lot of the women cannot speak English. Most of them were also quite reserved. She would spent the whole day in there and eventually the women started to open up. Because communicating with them was difficult, we found different ways to interact with them. We danced, sewed, or drank tea together.

‘Jordan did a lot of activities with the children. It was wonderful to see that, once you are playing with them, a smile appears on their face. Still, it was heartbreaking to realize that they don’t know a life without worries. When they weren't  playing, they looked miserable. Their lives will never be the same as how it was before’.

This was our most memorable moment …
‘The intimate conversations with the people we have met sticked with us the most. Even though we are from totally different lives, we were still able to connect and share different experiences.

Ashley had a conversation with a woman about the hijab and what it means to be a muslim. In the beginning we had our ‘western thoughts’ about it. But to hear someone talk about their culture and their pride, really affected us. It changed the way we think about topics like these. This woman helped us understand why wearing a hijab is so important for her and why it is a source of pride. She helped us seeing it through new eyes’.

One Happy Family is …
A special and empowering place. This community center gives the people a sense of purpose. And this makes a difference. Refugees are trusted to do their tasks and no one is monitoring them to see what they are doing. They get back a bit of responsibility.  One Happy Family is also a safe place. The people can escape everything that is going on in their life for a while.

Besides this, this community center is a place full of love. Refugees here are so used to volunteers coming and going. You would expect that they are not so welcoming anymore. But the opposite is true. They really embrace you and let you in their heart. This is touching, but it also makes it much more harder to leave’.

Our message to other people …
It is hard to put this experience in to words. We want to encourage people to come here for themselves. You can hear about this in the news, and it may upset you, but you also distance yourself because that is there and you are here. When you visit Lesvos, you cannot distance yourself anymore. And this is important. People have to see this with their own eyes’.

Ashley Johnsen

Age: 30

Country:  United States of America

Occupation: Law student

Stay: 29 April - 13 May

Jordan Johsen

Age: 34

Country: United States of America

Occupation: Real Estate Developer

Stay: 29 April - 13 May

11 Jul

‘Refugees are not from a different planet’

Gaelle Dietrich

Gaelle Dietrich volunteers in a center for refugees in Germany. To learn more about what these people are going through, she decided to go to Lesvos. ‘I wanted to go a little bit further in the work I am doing. I felt the need to see where the people I work with have lived and what they’ve experienced. In Germany I wasn’t able to get fully confronted with this.’

‘When I heard about One Happy Family it sounded like a perfect place for me to work. There are many different activities and you also have the time to talk to the people. In this way you can understand the situation they are in much better.’

This is my most memorable moment…
‘What has impressed me is all the love and solidarity I’ve received. The name ‘One Happy Family’ is not just a brand mark, it is a reality. It is so easy to talk to people and to have a good and honest conversation. The trust they have in you is amazing. I met a boy who suddenly told me he missies his mother. That he opened up to me and told me something so personal really touched my heart.'

This struck me the most…
‘The refugees in this center have so much energy and are so joyful. But at the same time there is a lot of pain in the background.  You can see this when someone is sitting on their own and is thinking. Or when they tell you something personal.  There is a big contrast between joy and reality.  And there can be so much feelings in just one hour. This must be exhausting for them.’

One Happy Family is …
A world apart. A place where people can escape from life in camp Moria. It is surprising how calm and restful the people are here. Some adults are drawing flowers the whole day and are so peaceful in that moment. This is amazing to see. One Happy Family provides this place, where  people can express their feelings and relief the stress they are experiencing

This is what I would like to tell other people …
'I would like to tell the people who are living in Moria that I am proud of them. I am proud of their strength and their wish to stay alive at any price. Please continue in this way.

I would like to tell people who are living in other countries to visit Lesvos.
A lot of people think it is difficult to talk with refugees. But it is not. We are all humans and we can all communicate with each other. A lot of people are afraid of refugees and they don’t know how to deal with this. But when you visit this place, you will see that they are just like us. Human beings. They are not from a different planet.’

Age: 34

Country: Germany

Occupation: project manager

Stay: 20 April -22 May

07 Jul

Hello everybody from the radio of OHF Lesvos: Impressions from the Podcast Workshop at One Happy Family

Thanks to MicroCamp Radio we were able to host the first radio-making workshop at "One Happy Family" community center on Lesvos. During the workshop, the participans Judith, Cédric, Ali, Yasseen & Natacha learned the art of producing a podcast.

The topic of the first episode concerns the life before and in Moria camp on Lesvos. We discuss the aftermath of violent clashes between residents of the camp, and have look at the relations between the different nationalities that live there.

In the second eposide, Yasseen welcomes Judith, a Cameroonian singer, and Ali, a specialist in Indian music. Also, Natacha interviews Zuri Camille de Souza and his assistant Jimmy Granger about their garden.

Listen to both episodes in the audio file below:

Workshops like this empower our visitors to discover and improve their talents. We are currently finishing the construction of a radio/multimedia studio located in the former boutique building on our site, and are looking forward to be able to stream the first official broadcast in the comming weeks.

04 Jul

‘My impact starts now’

Tina Leiser

She decided to go to Lesvos because she felt the need to know what refugees in Europe go through. After this experience, Tina Leiser is ready to raise awareness in Switzerland.

‘I know my impact in Lesvos was really small. But I needed to come here to understand the whole situation. Now I can take the next step which is raising awareness. My impact starts now.’

My tasks in One Happy Family, were …
‘Teaching English and translating for the doctors in DocMobile. The English classes were very interesting. Even though I was the teacher, I also learned a lot of them. I learned about their language, their culture but also about their powerfulness. These people are so strong. And most of them also have a good sense of humor.’

‘Translating for the doctors was a bit more tough. I have heard a lot of horrible stories and I had to protect myself by setting a distance. You cannot get to personal, because it is terrible to realize that everything they describe truly happened to them. Despite this, I did feel very useful doing this job. As there are many Africans in Lesvos, a French translator is necessary.’

This struck me the most …
I did not realize that the refugees are stuck in Lesvos for such a long time. Some of them are here for months or even years. And they are living in an overcrowded camp with more than 7000 people. A camp where they are treated like animals. These people experienced the most horrible things but look how we welcome them. I feel so ashamed of this.

One of the hardest things for me was how the local people treat the refugees. I will always remember the night when greek people attacked refugees who were having a peaceful demonstration. They threw stones at families and children. This was the first time I experienced something so violent. It showed how tough life can be for refugees. They are not seen as human beings. It still makes me so sad.

One Happy Family is …
‘A bubble. But this is a good thing. The people need this. Over here they can rest, relax and maybe even enjoy their days. I really like how this community center is being run. It means a lot to me that we work together with the refugees to reach something. Also all the volunteers are involved in the projects. We all carry this wonderful center.

What i’d like to tell other people …
We are all part of the same world. We are all equal and we all have the same rights. The people I've meet here deserve it to have a life which they can enjoy. Not a life where they are worried whether they will get asylum or not. Think about this. And care about everyone. Not only about your own friends and family.’

Age: 28

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: project officer

Stay: 1 april - 13 may

14 Jun

‘Try to imagine how it feels to be a refugee’

Soa Krummenacher

She wanted to travel, but she could not decide where to go. A documentary about Moria made her decide to go to Lesvos. ‘It was not a problem, but the fact that I had so many opportunities in my life stressed me out. What if I didn’t make the right choice? After seeing the situation in Moria, I was sure I wanted to do something for other people instead of for myself.’

‘Volunteering in One Happy Family has been great. I met a lot of amazing people and got to know different and new cultures. The most special thing was that all these different people could get along with each other so well. This community center really is a family.’

I came to Lesvos, because …
'I knew that there were refugees in Lesvos, but I didn’t hear much about it in the media. I wondered if there was still a crises going on. Now that I have been there, I know how bad the situation is. And that there really is a big, humanitarian crises in Greece.’

My tasks in One Happy Family, were …
‘Driving the shuttle, painting and coloring at the art table and working at the bank. Especially driving the car was fun. Most of the times it felt like a big party, with nice music and good vibes. Working at the bank was sometimes difficult, because the people wanted more drachma then we gave them. I understood them. They have lost everything. It was hard for me to say no to them, but I had to. Otherwise I wasn’t able to do my work properly.’

One Happy Family is …
‘A place where people really care about each .The atmosphere is so friendly and warm. I haven’t been in Moria, but I hear it is so horrible. One Happy Family is a place where the people can get away from this, even if it’s just for a short time. They can drink coffee or play some games. They are able do things to free their mind for a while. In my opinion this is very needed.’

This struck me the most
‘Like everyone else, I sometimes read about the horrifying things that are happening in countries that are in war. Even though it is heartbreaking, I still find it difficult to really feel what these people are going through. When I was in Lesvos, a boy told me his pregnant sister got killed by a bomb in front of his house. This confronted me with the reality. I really felt his pain. And I realized that this is happening to so many people. It really touched my heart.’

What I’d like to tell other people …
‘It is hard for me to exactly know how the refugees feel. I did not leave my country. I still have all of my family members with me. I can leave this island. I am free. These people have gone through hell and they are still in it. I think it is important that people try to imagine how this feels. Try to think about it, and ask yourself the question; how would this be for me? Maybe people will empathize more with refugees in this way.’

Age: 23

Country: Switzerland

Occupation: psychology student

Stay: 15 March - 5 April

06 Jun

‘I am confronted with the reality now’

Brigitte Fredriksen

As an English teacher, Brigitte Fredriksen decided she wanted to use her education skills somewhere else. Her experience in One Happy Family has moved her and opened her eyes.

‘The people I’ve met in the community center are so open, friendly and welcoming. The daily life of the refugees is so different from mine, but still I was able to relate to them. It was a very intense experience, but also so valuable.

I decided to go to Lesvos, because …
‘I wanted to learn more about the situation there. First, I was thinking to work with refugees in Libanon. But then I realized that there are also a lot of refugees in Europe. The fact that we have refugee crisis here is interesting. I felt like I needed to help, since I am a citizen of this part of the world. I wanted to do something meaningful. But I also wanted to see if the crisis was still going on. Unfortunately, I now know it is.

What were your expectations of One Happy Family?
Before I left to Lesvos, I read a lot of information about this community center on the internet. The philosophy of this organization - not for the people but with them - really appealed to me. I believe humanitarian aid is not only about helping, but also about empowering. I was hoping to see this in One Happy Family. And luckily I did. This is a really vibrant community, where refugees are given the chance to use their qualities. It makes them feel human again.’

My task in One Happy Family was …
‘Teaching English to adults. This was interesting. Back home, I am very strict during my lessons. But here I had to be more flexibel. The people have to walk one hour to visit this place. When they were late for classes, I decided to let them in. This is something I wouldn’t do in Norway.

Although it was sometimes difficult to explain certain things, all the people were really motivated to learn. There are many people with different language backgrounds and some of them are not educated. But still, I did not had to stimulate them myself. This was wonderful to see. ’

What struck me the most was …
People telling me how they cannot sleep at night. I wonder how long it will take before they go mad. It also got to me that I was not able to do anything about this situation. Imagine how the people themselves feel. This is one of the many reasons why there is such a need for a place like One Happy Family. The people can relax a bit and enjoy themselves.’

What I would like to tell other people …
At this moment, lives are being destroyed. This crisis is still going on. And the fact that this is happening in Europe, is mind-blowing. The way we treat refugees is not according to the human rights. The politicians have made a major mistake.’

I am confronted with the reality now. You can think, talk and reason about this crisis. But when you meet the people and feel their pain, you feel the obligation to do something. When I am back in Norway, I will start raising awareness about the situation in Lesvos. It’s impossible for me to accept this any longer.’

Age: 43

Country: Norway

Occupation: teacher

Stay: March 18 - April 1