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 the wet and cold season, and to visit our activities or just to have a coffee or a tea. Nevertheless, we currently struggle to fund this new bus transfer.


Festive Season on Lesvos 

The team on the ground has been busy preparing 1000 Christmas presents for the residents of Mavrovouni Camp. The bags included a handmade thank you card, a handful of sweets, chocolate and a small card/board game like UNO, playing cards, oe snakes and ladders. 900 presents were distributed by Euro Relief to all men living in the camp and the rest to our community volunteers and to the MVI kids group. We hope that these bags bring some festive cheer to all the residents! A big “thank you” goes to the Catholic Church of Meilen for making this gesture possible.

Last Refocus Graduation of 2021

The last graduation ceremony for the Refocus students of 2021 took place on OHF grounds. We are so proud to work with Refocus as a partner organisation. The Refocus students are really part of our OHF family. We get to know the students personally as they come to the community centre every day for the media lessons. Most of the time, the students stay for a glass of orange juice and to relax on site. We are so proud of the Refocus team and the students. The exhibitions and seeing the talent of the students is absolutely amazing!

A big thank you!

We could not have got through 2021 without our incredible partners:
International School of Peace (ISOP), Intersos, Medical Volunteers International (MVI), Sporos, Yoga and Sports for Refugees, All 4 Aid, Refocus, Makerspace and Wave of Hope for the Future. 

Thank you for all your love, energy and support throughout another challenging year. We appreciate all your hard work and friendship, we could not have got through it without you. We look forward to seeing what 2022 brings to all of us as individual projects and collectively on Lesvos and in Greece in general.

Some Numbers of 2021

All people who visit or work at One Happy Family receive free drinks, coffee, tea and orange juice. The daily lunch is provided by our friends from Zaporeak Proiektua. On average, over 5’000 drinks and 3’000 meals were distributed each month.

All people at OHF also benefit from freely accessible WiFi. This WiFi is not only available at OHF, in addition this year we have set up two WiFi bridges into the camp. On average, over 410GB per month are used and provided by us. One of our most successful projects is the free shop, read some more details in the next section. 

A successful year for the Shop!

As the year draws to a close, we have to say a big thank you and celebrate one of the most successful projects this year! The free online shop has been a great way of still
connecting with the community, particularly during the time of lockdowns and social restriction rules on Lesvos. We were able to use the wonderful ways of technology to ensure people could access the basics, particularly while movement was challenging. At times, we’ve processed more than 1,000 hygiene packages a month. We want to thank every single person who worked on donations, packing, logistics and distributions. It’s been so successful and we can’t wait to see how the online shop goes in 2022! 

Some numbers from the free shop in 2021: 

3515 registered customers

6425 orders 

66482 products distributed

1.4 days to complete an order

30 different items available

680 shop orders per month

5600 items distributed per month

New steps

As you read in the last newsletters, the number of visitors has decreased more and more during recent months. Therefore, we as OHF had to ask ourselves how we should continue. You also know that we have been in Athens for some time now. Yahia Heraiz, a member of the OHF coordination team, has set up a programme to support volunteers in Athens. Yahia supports former volunteers from OHF and other organisations in Athens by helping them find volunteer positions, offering support and benefit packages, and assisting them with information and networking. In 2021, One Happy Family was able to arrange over 500 volunteer hours every month in Athens and supported 9 active volunteers who worked in 4 different Athens organisations. OHF volunteers help with translation for legal and medical organisations, street outreach, etc. The support programme is constantly growing and we are very happy that we can now rent an office in the centre of Athens where meetings and training can be organised.

Due to the changes in Lesvos, we have now decided that we would like to expand OHF’s services in Athens even further. However, this also means that we have to limit our operations on Lesvos. In the near future, we will therefore concentrate mainly on the in the café and online shop. In order to be able to continue to do this, we also need you. To support these services directly, you can currently buy postcards in Germany and Switzerland to give visitors a drink or a hygiene bag. Read more about this under “what can you do”. You can also donate directly via our website. Thank you in advance!