Time to say goodbye

Handover to Europe Cares
After the recent announcement of stopping OHF’s community center activities on Lesvos by the end of February, we are happy to announce that the premises of the center will continue to be available for organisations to run their programs and activities for refugees and asylum seekers on the island thanks to Europe Cares

Europe Cares is committed to take over the space for the next 6 months, starting in March and continuing to operate the center in close collaboration with all actors on the premises. One Happy Family will remain active on Lesvos with the online free shop, offering hygiene items, clothing and dry food packages for people in need.

OHF will work in close partnership with Europe Cares and Leavenoonebehind2020 to support the people who live in RIC Mavrovouni with basic necessities and continue its partnerships with other actors working on Lesvos. We are looking forward to this new phase of the Community Center on Lesvos and are happy that the place continues to serve the residents of the camp in many different ways.

Thank you for following Europe Cares for any further updates about the activities in and around the Community Center on Lesvos and thank you for following and supporting OHF for the updates about the Online Free Shop on Lesvos, the One Happy Family Networking Office in Athens and the soon to be opened One Happy Family Community Center in Athens. 

Maintaining our presence on Lesvos
One Happy Family will continue its presence on Lesvos after Europe Cares takes over the space. Every morning the Free Shop will prepare all the orders so they are ready to collect with no waiting times later in the day. The Free Shop is still widely used. We try to ensure there is a wide range of items for people to choose from. Fifie and Aref are still doing an incredible job, managing and supervising the store. We also have other Community volunteers who will still be working at the Free Shop which will remain as part of One Happy Family. Thank you to our Lesvos team, for all you have done this month!

Our Farewell to One Happy Family, Lesvos 
It was important that we had an event to mark the conclusion of our time on Lesvos. We celebrated this on Thursday the 24th February, and designed the day to have separate parts. Before the official start, we had a gathering with our community volunteers. Here we painted the entrance and started the handprints of memories. At the top of the wall, we wrote a quote close to the OHF heart “coming together, learning from each other”. 

It wouldn’t be a farewell without a feast from the OHF kitchen! From 1pm onwards, we served an international buffet of food, kindly donated by volunteers. The kitchen team distributed around 200 meals, reminiscent of days gone by. 

At 2.30pm, the circus and Greek dancing got underway, and DJ Goofy. We had a picture timeline on the walls for people to have a look at our memories over the years. In addition, there were several emotional thank-you speeches and wonderful musical contributions.

We closed the gates for the last time at 4pm and gathered again to enjoy the last hours with the team. 
Friday the 25th was our last day. We finished packing up the boxes and loading them onto the truck to head to Athens on the Friday night ferry. Zeynep ran our last morning meeting and was so happy about the farewell party. She was so happy to see the place so lively again!

And with that, we handed over the last few things to Europe Cares, and headed off to Athens for our next adventure.