Through the engagement of many people the following projects have already been realized in our community center on the island of Lesvos:
All services in the center are of course free for every visitor. For some services like the café, the shisha lounge, the barber, the shop or the copy station we introduced a local currency called the “Drachma”. Every visitor gets a few drachma from the “bank” per day and can spend it for various services, at their discretion. By doing this, we try to give the people a sense of normalcy and self-determination in an environment which is often 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
On request, movies in various languages can be screened, and listened to using bluetooth headsets. The visitors can also enjoy themselves by playing a game of FIFA. The room is separated 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.
In a seperate room in our main hall you can find the cyber café. Besides computer classes, it is also used for printing documents and writing CV’s. With the help of our experienced helpers, our visitors are able to develop themselves in this field.
During lunchtime, visitors queue up to receive food, then sit in one of the long tables in the dining area, or on one of the many other seating areas around the center.
A ship container, painted in pink, provides space for two class rooms. Later, two more classrooms made out of wood were added. In this education center, classes are offered to children and adults. Most of the teachers are refugees themselves 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 main yard, and various small elsewhere. Several people have planted strawberries, flowers, herbs and other plants, which contribute to the atmosphere of OHF as a place where things grow and flourish.
The GYM, equipped with various weights and other training equipment, allows visitors to engage 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 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.
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.
Sharing and spreading low-technology, these simple technical solutions respond to basic needs in an empowering and sustainable way!
Low-tech with Refugees
The trained volunteer doctors and nurses offer primary health-care (acute and chronic) as well as medication to all visitors. Patients who cannot be treated on-site will be referred and transported to public hospitals / clinics or other NGOs.
Medical Volunteers International
The concept of the playground is about three things: stimulate the mind and imagination, learn to play with each other and stimulate physical exercise. To address these points in a good way our helpers built different kinds of climbing, an adventurous wobbly bridge and a nice sandpit for the infants. In this way the children can enjoy themselves outside, while the parents can have more rest and time for classes or workshops.
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 entrance of the building, a ship container has been converted to a mini-market for sanitary products.
Used for beach volleyball and basketball, the outer area of the community center offers a lot of possibilities for sport. About six tons of sand have been distributed on the floor to provide a pleasant ground for sports activities.
Thanks to the Pedagogical Institute of Los Angeles, children under the age of seven can enjoy themselves in a place we call ‘The Nest’. With different toys, art supplies, engineering and construction materials, a play kitchen and dolls, The Nest provides a safe place where young ones can have a good time and express themselves. It also gives the parents the chance to sit back and relax for a while.
Pedagogical Institute of Los Angeles
The women’s house is a safe space for women from the refugee community, and is used for various activities like discussions, counseling, hairdressing, make-up, sewing, knitting, English conversation, dance, fitness, creative writing and Yoga.
Women In Solidarity House – WISH Lesbos
Outside the main building, our visitors can relax, unwind and practice in our yoga tent. Our trained volunteers provide different classes in which people can practice yoga, meditation, Muay Thai or Taekwondo. With a view of the sea, this place is perfect to settle back.
Yoga and Sport for Refugees