Due to the number of organizations currently working on Lesvos, there is no organized way to distribute items to the refugees. Every organization has its own warehouses with its own donors, with its own thoughts on donations and its own system. This means that a lot of the time refugees are receiving what is donated rather than what is needed. In even worse cases unwanted aid is being left to rot in warehouses or being dumped in fields. The Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT), Stand by Me Lesvos and The Hope Project are working together to make an efficient donation system where the refugees tell us exactly what they need and we get it to them. Stand by me Lesvos will be dealing with logistics and organization. Moria Corona Awareness team will be receiving the demands and giving the items directly to those in need. The Hope project will be in charge of donations and distribution.
In order to be efficient as possible MCAT will be going tent by tent and zone by zone with documents to fill out. The documents will be filled in with items, amounts and sizes needed for each person or family. They will be starting in the family zones moving on to single men. They will also be continuing their recycling program, where in return for the refugees bringing a certain amount of bottles, they receive extra items in return, such as food and hygiene supplies.
This system will not only be a need-based approach but also a rights-based approach. Focusing on what individuals need but also what they should be receiving according to the rights granted to them by the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Declaration of Human Rights. We hope that our new system will not only help refugees but other NGOs, by setting up a long term way of distribution for organizations.
About the organizations:
Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT):
MCAT is one of several refugee self organizations created in Lesvos in spring 2020. Since then it focused on awareness campaigns, waste management and conducted a successful recycling system inside the camps. MCAT also helps to address the urgent needs of refugees and intervenes in emergency situations. It is partnering with different local and international NGOs to fulfil these tasks.
fb: Moria Corona Awareness Team
The Hope Project:
The Hope Project is founded on the principles of dignity, compassion, freedom and safety for all. They aim to provide aid & support for people in need. This primary focus is on people fleeing conflict, facing injustice, poverty or persecution. They currently run four warehouses focussing on people in need. Their main focus is distribution, clothes and hygiene. Under normal circumstances, they also run an art centre doing music, dance, greek dancing, poetry, theatre and music. They also run greek language lessons, women’s gym, women’s arts and crafts, women salon, men’s barbers and tailoring facilities. All their facilities are managed and run by volunteers from the refugee community.
Stand by Me Lesvos (SBML):
A Greek NGO assisting refugees and locals in Lesvos with education and consultancy. Founded in 2017 was focusing on education until March 2020. After the outbreak of Corona, it got involved in supporting various refugee self-help organisations and implemented a variety of different programs both in the refugee camps and for the local Greek community in Lesvos.
We aim to prepare this system during the current times of Covid-19 that make that makes sure everyone both working in the organizations and the refugees themselves are safe. Everything that is needed in the camp can be found in Europe or the island itself. Although we always try to buy locally and support local business, the lockdown restrictions are making it challenging. So currently we are focussing on receiving donations from abroad unless we need anything urgently.
Photo by Moria Corona Awareness Team