Things are looking promising with Greece set to ease some of the lockdown restrictions in late April/early May. For the moment, we are still operating in a slightly different capacity to what we were used to. Our online classes for our community volunteers are still running, and our online shop for the residents of the camp is still going strong! We’ve been focusing on two major projects this month. Both are incredible, and highlight that great things can happen when we all work together!
The Bazaar at OHF
Once again, OHF has been transformed into a clothing market. This time it was for the single men living in the RIC Mavrovouni.
During the past two weeks, more than 2,000 single males have had the opportunity to come to OHF and fill a bag with items from our beautifully arranged bazaar. We are offering trousers, t-shirts, underwear, socks and shoes. These items have been in high demand recently, with spring arriving and the subsequent need for summer clothing. In addition to the clothing bag, each visitor received a food pack, consisting of nuts, dates, fruits and canned food.
While we are happy that we can offer this basic assistance to visitors, we are also very aware that after four years we are still providing people with very basic aid. For years, we have been calling on Europe to improve the situation here on Lesvos. Unfortunately, we have not seen much of an improvement. We will continue pushing and calling for fundamental change at the political level, so that these distributions will no longer be necessary.
This distribution and the set up of the bazaar would not have been possible without all the help from our community and international volunteers, who worked for several weeks to gather and prepare all the items needed, and also run the distribution. We are also so very thankful to the organisations who supported it with items, ticketing and human resources, among others (Attika Human Support, LeaveNoOneBehind, Refugee 4 Refugees, Movement on the Ground, Low-tech with Refugees, Sporos Regeneration Institute, Drapen i Havet, Eurorelief and Team Humanity).
Wifi for the camp!
As mentioned in previous newsletters, together with other NGOs we’ve been working hard to set up a wifi link between the OHF building and the school project in Mavrovouni camp. Just this last week we’ve been able to establish the 600m link in collaboration with Stand by me Lesvos, Elix/ Ελιξ- Προγράμματα Εθελοντικής Εργασίας and Low-tech with Refugees.
Over the last weeks, technical teams from Stand by Me Lesvos and Low-Tech with Refugees have transformed two old buses into structures that are now serving as mobile classrooms for children and adult education inside Kara Tepe camp.
Wireless access is a top priority for computer classes, and the IT teams of both OHF and Low-Tech with Refugees were happy to develop a point-to-point connection solution that shares the internet at our community centre directly with the buses. The elevated location of our building proved to be an excellent location to perform this task.
Access to internet and digital learning are important pillars for education, and we are hoping to extend this pilot project to other projects in the future.
We are also eagerly looking forward to opening the new computer spaces at our Community Centre, which are ready for use as soon as lockdown measures are eased.
One Happy Family- our 4th Birthday!
April 2021 marked our fourth birthday as an organisation! We would have never imagined that we would still be needed on the island after all this time. We are proud of all we have achieved over the past four years. Despite the challenges the past year has brought, we will continue fighting for fundamental human rights to be met, the safe passage of people seeking asylum, and against the externalisation of European borders.