Through the engagement of many people the following projects have already been realized in our community center on the island of Lesvos:
All offers in the center are of course free for every visitor. For some services like the café, the shisha lounge, the tailor, the barber, the shop or the boutique, we introduced a local currency called the “swisscross-drachma”. Every visitor gets a few drachma from the “bank” per day and can spend it for the different offers. With that, we want to give the people a feeling of normality and self-determination in their environment which is often fully determined by others.
The barber shop is located right behind the cinema. With simple machines and scissors, the skilled barbers and coiffeurs manage to give people from the camps stylish haircuts and a fresh look.
Supplied with a large profiessional espresso machine, up to 100 coffees are served here every day. The area is artfully decorated and separaed by a small wooden fence from the rest of the room. It is the perfect place to get in touch with each other and encourages cultural exchange.
Together for Better Days
Tunisia, Algeria, Greece & Switzerland
The wooden castle behind the main building, designed to be climbed upon, is part of the childrens playground. There is as well a slide and a jumping stand to train movement skills.
Ethiopia, Germany & Switzerland
On request, movies in various languages can be screened, and listened to using bluetooth headsets. The room is separed from the rest by a thick red curtain. Visitors sit between self-made pillows on wooden stairs, and can enjoy the movie in a calm, pleasant atmosphere.
Syria & Siwtzerland
Thanks to donations, we can distribute clothes and shoes in our boutique house. The boutique is open on different days for men and another for women and children. The clothes are presented nicely on clothes rails, like in a “normal” boutique. Besides, there are chanings rooms for trying clothes.
Nepal, Kongo, Egypt & Switzerland
Duging lunchtime, visitors queue up to receive food, then sit on one of the long tables in the dining area, or on one of the many other seating options around the center.
The Hope Project – Philippa & Erik Kempson
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Israel & Palestine
A ship container, painted in pink color, provides space for two class rooms. Later, two more classrooms made out of wook have been appended. In this education center, it is possible to offer classes for children and adults, whereby most of the teachers are refugees themselfes and come from the same community as their pupils.
Our garden supplies the kitchen with various fresh vegetables and herbs even during the winter. In the greenhouse and tool shed building, gardening classes can be held. There are also other green spaces like the long stepped garden bed and the triangular space in the yard right in front of and various small patches around the center. Several people have planted strawberries, flowers, herbs and other plants, which contribute to the atmosphere of the place.
The GYM, equipped with various weights and other training material, allows visitors to engange themselves in sports activities. It is operated entirely by people from the refugee camps. They write training plans, offer Taekwando and kick-box sessions and organize running groups.
The Hope Project – Philippa & Erik Kempson
Syria & Myanmar
The outdoor-kitchen with a seaside view prepares up to 900 meals every day. The food is balanced and of of common taste to suit the different cultural backgrounds of all people. Everything is cooked in big pots sitting on two gas burners.
Morocco, Switzerland, Syria & Kongo
An old VW bus has been converted to a library, which is located in the vicinity of the school. It is used by adults and kids alike. Our Congolese librarian organizes the books by language, age and type. In addition, we try to motivate people to write their own stories, and present them in the library.
The trained volunteer doctors and nurses offer primary health-care (acute and chronical) as well as medication to all visitors. Patients which cannot be treated on-site will be referred and transported to public hospitals / clinics or other NGOs.
Algeria, Egypt & Greece
The shisha is an important part of Arabic culture, and therefore in popular demand – especially among men. Enjoying a shisha costs more SD (Swiss Drachma) than a single person receives a day, therefore every evening various groups sit together and share a shisha.
Close to the entrace of the bulding, a ship container has been converted to a mini-market for sanitary products.
Used as beach volleyball, soccer and basketball field, the outer area of the community center offers a lot of possibilities to to sport. About 6 tons of sand have been distributed on the floor to provide a pleasant ground for sports activities.
Sierra Leona, Palestine & Afghanistan
One of our indoor-rooms houses the tailor shop. Visitors can have their clothes repaired or adapted, and also can make their own clothes.
The woman house is a safe space for woman from the refugee community, and used for various activities like discussions, counseling, hairdressing, make-up, sowing, knitting, english conversation, dance, fitness, creative writing or yoga.