Stand By Me Lesvos
FORWARDS OF MIXALIS, CO-FOUNDER OF STAND BY ME LESVOS
Since the very beginning of 2020, it showed it would become a difficult year with the coronavirus spreading over the entire planet with huge impacts on health, economy, society but most of all fear and uncertainty. The pressure is especially felt by the vulnerable groups such as the immigrants, the marginalized and low-educated groups, and people far below the poverty line.
Unfortunately, the educational sector has been severely impacted by the pandemic although it is a strength to overcome ones challenges. But even so we had to fight and provide solutions to the impasses that were presented as insurmontable as we did all these years that we are active in supporting the marginalized and the persecuted.
One of the founders of adult education, Paulo Freire, in his work “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” said that in order that the persecuted can escape from the vicious circle and the constant degradation, they should not complain and beg for charity from the rich and the settled, but should organize themselves and give names to their problems (the beginning of every solution) and with their own forces to try to improve their situation. And so, we have followed Freire’s footsteps and we encourage, support, nurture and convey vulnerable’s voice to those who have forgotten them.
Stand By Me Lesvos is focusing its work on different programs dealing with education, waste management, awareness and community support. The largest program that has absorbed 50% of our budget is namely recycling, while 30% was spent on the pandemic awareness, information and relief from the consequences of the pandemic program. Finally, 6% was the cost of the educational programs. I am proud to say that the cost of managing and coordinating the programs for 2020 was only 14% of our budget and I can look to you in the eye and tell you that I am here to help many and not a few.
Money is never enough for such goals but what is important for us is prudent management and transparency. Because with self-organization, joint effort and equality, we can face any difficult situation without self-appointed saviors and exploiters. In order to change the situation, it needed a lot of work.
OVERVIEW ON STAND BY ME LESVOS PROJECTS OF 2020
Stand By Me Lesvos (SBML) focused its work and activities on the support of self-organized refugee groups projects, namely Moria White Helmets (MWH) , Moria Corona Awareness Team, (MCAT) and Moria Academia. We strongly believe that it is the dynamism of the people we serve that makes the projects we support successful. In this sense, all projects are carried out in partnership with community members and are led by them.
The educational Academia project of Stand By Me Lesvos was implemented in 2018 in order to face the lack of formal education for camp residents. From January to March 2020, Stand By Me Lesvos organized classes every day that was gathering around 1000 students per day. The lack of formal education also led some refugees to form themselves self organized groups in offering non formal education classes within the camp under Moria Academia School.
The initial Academia project of Stand By Me Lesvos then melted within the Moria Academia self run school in March 2020 with the first lockdown, when the students could not access to Stand By Me Lesvos school because of Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, Stand By Me Lesvos started to support the school. Thus, Moria Academia is an informal education program run by camp residents for camp residents. The aim of informal education is not to take over Greek authorities competence on formal education but rather prepare a transition from informal to formal education in schools in order for camp residents to be integrated in the country they will be living in.
From March, SBML expended its activities though partnership with self organized groups : mainly Moria White Helmets (MWH) and Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT) that are taking care of waste management and awareness inside and outside the camp. Initially in March, in cooperation with Mytilene municipality, the MWH were collecting waste in the olives groves of old Moria camp as well as in the surrounding areas.
Because of the high need for efficient waste management program in the camp but also in Mytilene, their work extended to the city. MCAT team started some campaigns to educate camp residents about the world pandemic itself and the rules implemented by the Greek authorities to face the pandemic, inside and outside the camp. Their structure and activities became bigger as the cases on the island and inside the camp rapidly grew even under lockdown. It was thus not surprising to see this project implemented the new camp. Waste management and awareness became an important part of the camp life within the year, counting in its rows 27 team members in March to more than 170 in December.
Always on the background, Stand By Me Lesvos provided support such as logistics, fundraising and we served as intermediaries between the groups and different actors on the island in order to strengthen their activities.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON 2020 STAND BY ME LESVOS'ACTIVITIES
In general, all our projects were challenged by the Pandemic. Some programs needed to be interrupted whereas others were still running taking into consideration strict Covid-19 rules. Stand By Me Lesvos’ school was a proper success and was running very well until March 2020, with many students, teachers as well as registrations.
The world pandemic challenged the implementation of this program. Indeed, the lockdowns in March made impossible the education of camp residents on such a big scale. The question that came rapidly on the table was : how to offer this service to a wide range of persons when everyone is confined at home and within the camp?
Stand By Me Lesvos rapidly accommodated from this crisis: first of all Stand By Me Lesvos started to support the self-organized schools within the camp. Secondly, online classes were settled.
Additionally, the ongoing classes on the ground are occurring with less students and with the respect of barrier gestures.
Further more, there was a lack of supply to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 within the camp: there was a lack of soap, disinfectant and masks in the camp. To face this challenge, Stand By Me Lesvos supported and collaborated with a self organized under Moria Academia.
This program initially aimed to sew reusable masks for camp residents. With their hard-work and the help of donors, masks were efficiently distributed to camp residents as well as different structures in Mytilene (fire brigade, bus companies).
Stand By Me Lesvos was reporting in April 2020 that access to water was the main obstacle to the application of basic hygiene measures such as hand washing. Indeed, in the former camp of Moria, there was 1 water point for 1,500 people, often without soap.
Furthermore, in terms of prevention or health rules, asylum seekers had to manage on their own. To respond to this gap, Stand By Me Lesvos supported MCAT to organize themselves and thereafter provided consistent and sustainable support to the organized group as well as their members. Team members were distributed masks on a daily basis inside the camp.
Certificates distributed to camp residents of Moria who successfully passed the First Aid trainings program.
Stand By Me Lesvos
36 Academia team members • 34 Academia teachers • 2 Security members • 1500 Academia students • 6 classrooms • 54 classes a day • 12 Moria Academia Team members • 10 Moria Academia classes in old Moria • 600 students in old Moria • + 1000 students supported through SBML’s support of community schools in old Moria • 7 Moria Academia classes in the new camp • 250 students in the new camp • +320 students supported through SBML’s support of community schools in the new camp • 1 partnership with School of Second chance of Mytilene for Greek classes • 2 classes per week • 30 students attending each Greek classes until March • 20 students attending each Greek classes in September • 1 teacher training program • 30 teachers trained • 1 online school program • 8 online classes • 75 online students • 1 first aid training program • 120 participants to first aid training • 1 sewing factory • 26 sewing women • 70 000 cloth masks • 12 000 bags
WASTE MANAGEMENT AND AWARENESS
Stand By Me Lesvos
3 open letters to Europe • Over 500 interviews of SBML and partners • Over 200 team members in MA, MWH, MWH groups • 9 awareness campaign • 10 200 posters and flyers hung up • 5 languages • 3 recycling stations in Old Moria camp • 1 300 000 empty water bottles recycled in old Moria camp between April and September • 108 000 cold bottles of water given to camp residents through the recycling program between April and September • 350 tones of rubbish collected in old Moria between April and September • 2 recycling stations in the new camp • 1 440 000 empty water bottles recycled in the new camp between October and December • 60 000 dirty bottles of water collected • Over 25 000 various items (food and hygiene) given to camp residents through the recycling program between October and December • 4 zones inside the new camp covered by electricity team
Stand By Me Lesvos
10 houses rented every month • 40 migrants hosted every month • Over 200 markets cards to our partners inside the camp from Jan. to Sept. refilled of 10€ every 2 weeks • 2400 emergency bags packed in Sept. after the fire • 500 camp residents weekly supported with dry food and hygiene from Sept. to Dec. • Over 4000 food bags sent to team members between Oct. and Dec. • 50 abounded cats fed every day since the fire • 20 bicycles supplied to team members • 647 pairs of shoes distributed to camp residents • 350 sleeping mattresses and 400 blankets provided to camp residents in Dec. • 1 Free bus • 2100 available passengers/month within the Free bus • 6 Greek cities weekly supported with dry food and hygiene • 15 tablets sent to Greek local as Easters gifts • 1 public hospital supported • 1 3D printer bought to produce face shields for medical staff • 13 pallets sent to Just Action in Samos • 6 pallets to Diavata camp • 6 pallets sent to LRYG • 2500 Christmas packed and distributed to camp residents and Greek citizens
JAN. – MAR. 2020
STRENGTHENING OF EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND START OF COOPERATION WITH SELF RUN ORGANIZATIONS.
Between January and March 2020, the Greek Government implemented several restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 on the island (curfew, restriction of movements).
In the beginning of March, the first lockdown stared. The first Covid case was registered in the beginning of March but did not reach the camp – yet.
Between January and March 2020, Lesvos saw a period of unprecedented tension between demonstrations against the border politics of the Government and the EU (also in Athens and Thessaloniki); incidents of violence against asylum seekers, staff of humanitarian organizations, journalists and even citizens in various parts of the island.
While the environnement was tense SBML continued to implement its Academia school out of Moria camp, and strongly supported the birth of several self organized groups in March.
Facts: 1 SBML Academia school • 6 classrooms • 54 classes a day • 1500 students/ month • 34 teachers • 2 security members • 1 sewing factory • 12 sewing women • 600 cloth masks/ day • Settlement of 2 self run organizations • 1 awareness campaign • 1000 posters and flyers hung up • 4 languages • 12 MCAT members • 14 MWH members • 10 houses rented/ month • 40 migrants hosted/month
1.1 1 Moria Academia School
Education is a fundamental right enshrined on the international level in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1966). Indeed, Education in itself is an « empowering right and one of the most powerful tools by which economically and socially marginalized children and adults can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully in society. »
Moreover, according to Greek law, schooling is free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 15, and all children, including migrants and asylum seekers, have the right to enroll in a public school, even if they are undocumented.
Therefore, by law, these asylum-seeking children have access to public education « until a deportation order against them or their parents is effectively enforced » and must be enrolled in school within three months of their application for asylum, or within one year if specific language training is provided in the meantime to facilitate their access to public education.
The reality is that the reception of these children challenges the application of this right. Indeed, as the Human Rights Watch report called « Out of school, it’s their future that escapes them: Asylum-seeking children deprived of education on the Greek islands » of 2018 shows; « broken promises and harsh government policies result in a lack of respect for the right to education for most asylum-seeking children living in the Aegean islands ».
Following what this lack of formal education led some refugees to form themselves in self organized groups in offering non formal education classes within the camp in order to fill this gap. Thus, Moria Academia is an informal education program run by camp residents for camp residents. The aim of informal education is not to take over Greek authorities competence on formal education, but to prepare a transition from informal to formal education in schools in order for camp residents to be integrated in the country they will be living in.
The Academia project is a project that was created by Stand By Me Lesvos (SBML) in 2018 in order to provide informal education to the camp residents of Moria Camp. From January to March 2020, Stand By Me Lesvos worked hard to develop and increase the educational capacities within the camp residents of Moria Camp. SBML’s responsibility was to provide the location of classes in a tent located out of the camp behind the MSF tent as well as the material needed (notebooks, pen, pencils, tables and chairs). Daily 54 classes were taught by 34 teachers living in the camp, from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm for to men, women and children. Classes were offered in English and Greek, and served approximately 1500 students per month. English was taught in Farsi, English, French and Somali. We also had started a German class.
On February, 17 Moria Academia school closed. Just after one hundred women and children newly registered for classes in Stand by Lesvos’ Academia local authorities came and closed the place, because according to them sanitary installations are not sufficient. This closure affected our partners from « Fenix Humanitarian Legal Aid » as well. They were offering much needed legal assistance for refugees within this structure.
Later in March, the school merged with Moria Academia self run school. Therefore SBML started to support and strengthen the latter as well as other self-organized schools of Moria camp. It should be noted that SBML has never been present inside Moria camp as our way of working is to empower migrants through support of self organized group. Therefore, there is no need to work inside the camp : from our office in Mytilini, we support this schools that are per se inside the camp.
1.1.2 Birth and support of the Tailor project
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a lack of supply to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 within the camp. To face the lack of supply within old Moria camp, a self organized group of tailors working under Moria Academia were working to sew reusable masks for camp residents. This project started in mid- March 2020 and was located next to old Moria. This workshop was held by 12 sewing women working 5 days a week. At this time, they produced 600 cloth masks on a daily basis. During this period, SBML was provided the material needed (sewing machines, fabric). The news paper « Politico » was referencing to this Afghan women as one of the « 19 coronavirus heroes ». Since March 2020, SBML also supports the Agiasos volunteers mask workshop. Agiasos is a town in the western part of the island and SBML provide them material needed in order to sew masks for greek locals of the village. This project started to be massively reported on European and international medias such as Greek reporter (Greece); The Guardian (UK); Salz Burg (Austria); OE24 (Austria); De Volkskrant (Netherland); Le Figaro (France) , Courrier International (France); France 24 (France); Spiegel (Germany); and so many more. SBML evaluated this press coverage as a great success : « these people from self run team had the opportunity to have a voice on the European and international stage. »
1.1.3 Greek classes in cooperation with the Second Chance School of Mytilene
The Greek classes project started in 2018. It consists in Greek classes offered by the teachers of the Second Chance School of Mytilene in cooperation with SBML. Until March, the classes were taught twice a week and 30 students were attending the latter. Because of the first lockdown the classes were interrupted in March.
1.1.4 Erasmus program in cooperation with MCAT and MWH
Finally, in cooperation with Academia, SBML, joined the Erasmus + program in 2019. It consists of conferences and workshops dealing with the question of refugees.
- The first program in which we take part is called « Volunteering with refugees » and took place in Lesvos, in November 2019. In this program, we were to define the best practices for ethical volunteering programs and management. We also needed to write a handbook and toolbox for innovating refuges management from self organized refugee teams. The partners in this project are: Wadi, Northern lights Aid, indigo Volunteers. The second seminar on this topic occurred in March 2020. The partners were able to visit and meet local NGOs working near Moria Camp, continuing discussions about the framework of the Volunteer Management Toolbox in the afternoon. Later on in March, a third seminar occurred. Because of the pandemic, the meeting moved to an online platform.
- The second program in which we take part is named « Train the Trainers of immigrants ».This project is composed by the coordinator of the project Fundacja Ad Meritum (Poland), Active Citizens Association (Greece), Second Chance School of Mytilene (Greece) and Jaume I University Business Foundation (Spain). In this project we aim to set up tools for refugee trainers/teachers. Our role is of writing a handbook to help trainers/teachers to deal with traumatic situations of the learners. The first meeting we did it at Warsaw was at October of 2019.
- The third is called « Migration in Europe: creating an inclusive society », in cooperation with Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Poland.
Waste Management and Awareness
1.2.1 Set up of Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT) and Moria White Helmets (MWH) self run structures
All human beings depend on the environment in which they live. A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is integral to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation.
OXFAM 2008 Report on « Domestic and Refugee Camp Waste Management Collection & Disposal » underlines the importance of an effective and solid waste management in emergency situations from a health and environmental point of view. They expose the risks from the absence of solid waste management (for instance : fly breeding within waste, flies are disease transporting vectors; Mosquitoes breed in blocked drains and discarded cans, tyres and other items, mosquitoes are vectors for malaria, dengue, lymphatic filariasis and yellow fever amongst others; Rats find shelter and food in waste, they live and breed in and around waste, and are again a disease transporting vector).
The camp residents receive food and water on a daily basis from different actors. For instance, every person receives 2 bottles of water per day. With more than 7 000 camp residents living in abyssal conditions, it is thus not surprising to see loose packaging and bottles in the streets.
In this sense, there is a high need for an efficient waste management – collection of waste and recycling empty bottles – in order to 1. Improve the living conditions of camp residents 2. facilitate their access to standards human rights. Further more, the living conditions inside old Moria camp and inside the new camp make the implementation of preventive measures to fight Covid-19 difficult. Stand By Me Lesvos was reporting that access to water was the main obstacle to the application of basic hygiene measures such as hand washing. Indeed, in the former camp of Moria, there was 1 water point for 1,500 people, often without soap. Furthermore, in terms of prevention or health rules, asylum seekers had to manage on their own. The lack of efficient waste management in the camp and the Covid-19 outbreak led some refugees to form themselves in self organized groups in order to collect rubbish inside and outside the camp, to raise awareness on the virus itself and the rules implemented by the Greek authorities. Moria Corona awareness team was in its birth composed Afghans and Syrian nationals. Two weeks later, the Syrians of MCAT separated from MCAT and became an independent structure called the MWH. SBML thus supported MCAT and MWH to set up democratic transparent structure with internal management.
Officially operational on the 15th of March. We could read on MCAT Facebook page : « We want to inform you that we have created the Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT) here in the camp to deal with non medical issues related to Corona Crisis. We are consisting of representatives from different communities, our team hast pharmacists, teachers and many other professionals »
1.2.2 Beginning of activities
On March 30, we obtained the license from the Municipality and camp management to enter and to transport trash from the camp three times a week. This was a very big step forward. By the end of March, 15 MWH already started to collect rubbish inside the camp. We supplied them with boots, rubbish bags, gloves. The activity rapidly reached medias. « Medium » website was successfully reporting that the system was aiming to « provide more drinking water and support the environment. »
Meanwhile, MCAT and MWH organized their first awareness campaign after 3 greek locals were tested positive to Covid 19.We printed awareness posters in 4 languages (Arabic, Farsi, english, French). More than 1000 were hang up inside and outside moria. By the MCAT team composed of 12 members at this time. Omid, the coordinator of MCAT was explaining to Info migrants : « We decided to gather and launch this initiative to increase the camp residents’ awareness of the dangers of the virus and ways to prevent it. Our awareness-raising activity is mainly focused on informing people about ways to prevent the someone is infected with the infection » This first campaign has been successfully covered by a German media « analyse & kritik », by Yahoo finances, Info migrants , Euractiv, the Guardian ; Spiegel (Germany); Press Portal (Germany); Jungle World (Germany); and others.
1.3.1 Team members
As MCAT, Moria Academia and MWH were developing by the end of March, SBML were setting up a project in order to support the team members of this organizations to improve their living conditions and to acknowledge their hard-work. SBML started to implement it in April. (See Part II- 1.3)
1.3.2 Security and awareness at Lidl supermaket
Starting in March 2020, MCAT and MWH members were assisting in security in « Lidl » : Greek supermarkets are considered problem places for the application of preventives measures limiting the spread of Covid-19. The Moria Corona Awareness Team and SBML started organizing a system to manage Lidl : every day team members from MCAT will help the supermarket with security at the entrance and regulate the flow of people that was coming into the shop. This project stopped in March due to the lockdown. This project was covered by « Mission Lifeline » channel on Vimeo., and reported by « Barron’s » webpage : « In the past week, refugee groups have also created different language teams denoted by a badge — white for Arabic, blue for Dari and Farsi — to organise orderly access to local supermarkets for the various nationalities in the camp. »
APR. – JUN. 2020
EXPANSION OF SBML’S ACTIVITIES
From March to June, the camp was under lockdown. This period is marked by the expansion of MCAT and MWH activities.
Thus, SBML increased its support to the self-run organizations.
Libella from Croatia titled in May: « With inhumane conditions at the Moria refugee camp, the only option in the fight against coronavirus is self-organization »
Facts: 1 self run school supported by SBML (Moria Academia) • 12 Moria Academia teachers • 600 students • + 7 others organized school supported by
SBML • 1 teacher training program • 12 Team members • 20 teachers trained • 1 Erasmus + seminar • 200 markets cards given to team members and refilled of 10 euros every 2 weeks between April and June • Aid to 6 Greek cities • 300 vulnerable greek locals supported • 15 tablets Easter gifts • 1 generator to 1 Roma family • 1 3D printer • 2 open letters to Europe • 1 recycling station • 10 000 to 12 000 bottles collected/day • 500 cold bottles of water distributed/day • 20 MCAT members • 50 tones of waste collected/month • 70 MWH members • 3 awareness campaigns • 5 500 posters hung up • 5 languages
2.1.1 Development of self run schools network
With the the first lockdown in March, SBML’s school closed. Because of the lack of education, some camp residents formed themselves in self organized groups in offering non formal education. This was the case of the Moria Academia school. SBML then decided to melt its schools that closed shortly before within the Moria Academia self run one. This permit the self run school to be largely financed by SBML. Meanwhile, SBML developed its network of self-run schools and continued to supplied them. They represent 7 of them in old Moria. In May, SBML was contacted by some refugees in the camp who on their own initiative opened a tent school for children. They asked if we can help them. From April, SBML began sending school material to support Moria Academia school and community schools. When SBML contracted a warehouse next to Moria camp called « Lyceum », the place was secured as a « home base » and ressource for all teams. At this point, SBML offered some space to Moria Academia school in order to run their classes.
2.1.2 Teacher’s training
This project is a cooperation between SBML, Second Chance School of Mytilene and International School of Peace. Set up in 2019, it resumed in April and SBML offered training to teachers of Moria Academia and community schools.
The teachers of the self run Moria Academia school had the opportunity to attends teachers training in order to build the capacity of the teachers in the SBML programs, as well as teachers running their own classes and schools in Moria. Approximately 20 teachers were able to attend this training weekly from April to June. Thus, Stand By Me Lesvos was proving the location of the trainings, the necessary material to conduct the trainings and the trainers were coming from « International School of Peace » and « Second Chance School of Mytilene ».
Twice a week, teacher training was conducted. In these trainings :
- teachers improved their language skills
- learned about lesson planning and material creation
- prepared games and activities for classes, and
- made supplemental materials for their students.
2.1.3 First aid training
SBML planned the First aid training project in June 2020 in cooperation with SBML, MCAT, MWH and the Boat Refugee Foundation (BRF). The aim is to train people to recognize the most common medical emergencies in Moria and in their first response in these situations. The training covers a variety of topics that people can face in Moria: from carbon monoxide intoxication to heat strokes, snake bites, fractures, burns and recognition of stroke. Due to the magnitude and difficult accessibility of the camp, it can take a long time for rescuers or the ambulance to reach emergencies. That is why first aid knowledge and skills among Moria residents are extremely important. The project was implemented in July (See III 1-Education).
2.1.4 Erasmus program
In June, we also took part of the fourth web seminar of the Erasmus program. We set up a new plan on how to work on the handbook; we added content of the toolkit and new sections were mapped out. The monitoring of progress was discussed with new guidelines.
Waste Management and Awareness
2.2.1 Open letters
In the beginning of April, MCAT and MWH wrote a letter to the European Union, Governments in Europe and for the European public to address several issues regarding the living conditions inside Moria : water (sewage/toilets, showers, and taps), trash, isolation, food supply/food line, hygiene/disinfection, fire protection, security, awareness and education. This appeal rapidly gained political attention in Germany, and was for instance published by the German Newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. That was a great outcome as SMBL encourages its partners to express themselves on the international scene. One month later, in May 13, our partners from the camp, wrote a second letter to Europe. This second time the German daily Tageszeitung published the call together with a long interview with Omid Deen Mohammed from MCAT.
2.2.2 Recycling project
The Recycling project had become permanent and sustainable in April 2020. Until October it was operating through MCAT team. The principle is the following : camp residents pick up plastic empty bottles and bring them to the recycling point. For every 10 bottles, one receives a ticket and can exchange it in for items depending of their needs (cold water, juice, milk, potatoes, onions, hygiene items for instance). During this time period, SBML bought 500 bottles of cold water every day to Agritelis company to be exchanged through hr recycling program. From April to June 2020, there was 1 recycling point outside Moria next to the entrance and Mcat team was receiving between 10 000 to 12 000 empty bottles a day. MCAT members were working 6 days a week at this recycling station and increased from 8 to 20 team members. Since June 2020, one a week, two MCAT members are holding a workshop to raise children’s awareness on how to re use empty bottles to prevent it to go waste (fabrication of toys for instance).
How SBML is supporting the recycling project ?
- SBML is organizing the transport of empty bottles from the camp to a waste disposal center through a contract with the Greek company « Vasilis Agritelis ». From there, the bottles are being packed and shipped to Athens to be melted and recycled.
- SBML is buying the items that are exchanged at the recycling points against empty bottles. SBML is providing the material needed for the project such as gloves (around 1000 pairs of gloves per month), masks, rubbish bags, badges that permit to identify the team members, outfits, cards that will be used as a ticket to exchange a bottle against an item.
- Accountancy is also covered by SBML in the process of fundraising,
2.2.3 Rubbish collection project
The collection of rubbish is carried out by Moria White Helmets (MWH) in cooperation with the municipality in old Moria camp, MWH members were collecting rubbish 3 days a week from 9am to 12pm for a total of 50 tones of waste a month. MWH team expanded from 15 team members in March to 30 in April, up to 70 in June. SBML supply the necessary equipments (gloves, masks, rubbish bags) and organize the transportation of the waste from the olive groves next to Moria camp to the waste disposal center. We also provided incentives (market cards) for team members as well as the coordinator’s phone. Finally, we provide accountancy and fundraising activities.
2.2.4 Development of awareness campaigns
From April to June 2020, SBML provided materials for 3 MCAT campaigns. On May 26, MCAT and MWH launched a campaign to raise awareness of Moria Camp refugees about waste and recycling. SBML printed the posters in 5 languages and our partners have hung , more than 1 000 posters and flyers.
- Beginning of April we provided new waterproof posters to MCAT team. This campaign was aiming to raise awareness about Covid within the camp. One of MCAT team then reported that everyone in the camp was aware of Corona because of this campaign, and that they try to do whatever is possible and many help spreading the message.They are made by a German designer and printed in Lesvos in 5 different languages. We decided to add the Greek language (Farsi, Arabic, English, French and Greek). As this posters were bigger than the previous one, we printed less: around 500-600 posters.
- On the 9th of May, SBML provided 4000 flyers that were distributed in 3 days by MCAT members.
SBML provided MCAT t-shirts and coveralls for the team members. SBML is supplying masks and gloves at the recycling points inside the camp as well a disinfection. While team members are using reusable masks that are sued my the Tailor team, they distribute non reusable one to camp residents.
Educational and waste management activities were broadly reported by the medias of all continents. Alternative Africa wrote about « Migrants from the Moria camp in Lesvos, Greece, sew handmade protective masks ». Posta news and Noize from Poland wrote about the self run organizations and the awareness activities. TAT Sachen from Austria mentioned the awareness team – as well as Vart Land from Norway- and interviewed the coordinator of MWH, Raed AlObeed, when Medium from the UK talked about the recycling project. France 24 was reporting the reason of the self-run activities through an interview of MWH coordinator « We launched our own initiative because most of the NGOs have left the camp. We do a lot of sensitization, we explain to people what Covid-19 is, that it is really dangerous, and we explain the basic preventive measures: how to wash your hands well, keep away from others, don’t go out of the camp so as not to risk contracting the virus… The fact that so far there hasn’t been any case in the camp is a miracle, it has to continue. »
Finally, Moria Media Team was set up in April as a sub project of the 3 self run organizations. The idea was that photographers of Moria Academia, MWH and MCAT could publish content on the internet. Thus, SBML created an page on internet called « Files from Moria » in which the media content is shared. The Media Team also have contact with journalists and medias sources in order to report about the situation on the island.
2.3.1 Team members
Between April and June, SBML provided markets cards to the members of our partner organization inside the camp.
- SBML started to implement the system of incentives for the MCAT and MWH members. From April to June it consisted in market cards in which SBML were crediting 10euros per week that could permit the members to buy their own food to the supermarket. We decided to implement this card system instead of directly supplying them food from international donors because it permit them to be empowered to choose their own food, thus helping discontructing this image of « beggers refugees ».
- We also provide food for the MWH, MCAT and Moria Academia workers for lunch. It consists of hot meals prepared by NGO’s (Zaporeak and Home for All).
2.3.2 Housing program
Stand by me Lesvos settled housing program. This programs aims to protect the refugees that are in specific situations that makes them more vulnerable (pregnant women, health issues for instance). Many donors from America and Europe asked us to help this people to rent houses. In 2020, SBML is renting more than 10 houses in Mytilini that permit 40 refugees to find a safe place.
2.3.3 Support of Samos, Leros and Diavata
SBML have settled projects since April that are aimed to be short in time in supporting Leros and Samos Island as well as Diavata camp on the mainland. After having received the list of urgent needs, SBML organized the packing, palletization and transfer of these needs.
Since then, we also support the newly established Leros Corona Awareness Team (LCAT) in term of materials.
In June, Leros Refugee Youth Group launched a Covid awareness campaign that we supported inside the refugee camp. (See Part 3 for details).
2.3.4 Greek locals : vulnerable citizens, Mytilini Fire Brigade, Hospital and Bus company
Since April 2020, SBML support vulnerable Greek locals in 3 different locations :Mytilene, (city, Thermi, Pamfila andAg. Marina), Kalloni and Agiasos through different associations such as Eypoio and Sitizo in Kalloni, Agiasos Thermi in Mytilene. For some villages, we directly deal with Vice Mayors. In total it represents around 380 persons. This support was strengthened during the lockdown periods. SBML provide them cooked food on a regular basis – in collaboration with Home for all and Zaporeak kitchen – and dry food from our warehouse. Furthermore, for Easter SBML provided 15 tablets that have been distributed by volunteers to vulnerable people.
Additionally, we helped Roma people in May :
- SBML supported a Roma family with a generator who needs electricity for a chronically sick family.
- We also supported an initiative of Deputy Mayor of Volunteerism, Dimitra Alexandri, who took care about the Roma camps on Lesvos, distributed food, gave awareness about Corvid-19 and disinfected the places.
In April, in cooperation with the School of Second Chance, SBML bought a 3D printer and use this material to produce face shields for medical staff.
In May, SBML started a cooperation with the fire brigade of Mytilene. We supplied them with some equipment and helped them to build a small shelter for their staff near Moria. At this time, we were thinking to start fire protection training for refugees in the camp. In May 11, SBML supplied a distribution of masks to bus company.
On the beginning of June, SBML organized a second distribution of masks at a bus station of Mytilini. Some masks were produced by the Tailor workshop of Academia. We also gave some to primary schools in Mytillini. Finally, In cooperation with and upon the request of the camp management, SBML supported and organized the repair of several bathroom facilities in the camp.
JUL. – SEPT. 2020
SBML EMERGENCY RESPONSE
During the period July-September, SBML activities were sustainable and well rooted. We received a lot of requests from europeans to volunteer with us. We made a statement as following clarifying our way of working: « Let us explain that we don’t work like other with volunteers in the field. We believe in the concept of self organization of refugees. All the project we support are ran by and through our partner organizations who are self organized independent groups. We just manage the logistic for them and coordinate the activities. Therefore we are a small team of Greeks and some other Europeans who work both with refugee self organizations and Greek volunteers to help in various villages and cities on Lesvos island. »
On the nights of the 9th and 10th of September, Moria camp burned to ashes. Nearly 12 000 men, women and children found themselves sleeping in the streets of Lesvos, without shelter, food and water. As part of the emergency plan to accommodate 12 000 people in Lesvos, the Greek authorities set up a new transitional camp on the island.
Facts: 1 Moria Academia school • 10 classes • 600 students • 12 teachers • 1 sewing workshop • 600 masks/day • 20 sewing workers • 20 students/day attending Greek classes • + 1 000 others students supported through community schools • 80 students/month attending first aid classes • 10 students successfully passed the training of trainers program • 3 recycling stations • 32 MCAT members • 1 500 bottles of cold water distributed/day • 12 000 to 15 000 bottles collected/day • 100 tones or rubbish collected/month • 120 MWH members • 3 awareness campaigns • 2400 posters hung up • 500 team members daily supplied right after the fire • 2400 emergency bags packed during 2 weeks • 466 dry food bags food bags sent to team members in September • 50 abounded cats fed/day • 1 Free bus running from Mytilene to Moria and back
3.1.1 Relocation of Moria Academia’s activities at Lyceum
From July to September, Stand By Me Lesvos worked hard to develop and increase the educational capacities within the camp residents of Moria Camp. This occurred in several different ways. At the Lyceum location of SBML, daily English classes were taught Monday – Friday to women and children. 10 classes were offered by 12 teachers in Arabic and Farsi, and served approximately 600 students – at the end of July, MWH joined the Academia program and start with open air classes for Arab children.
In order to reach more students and further support the refugee self-organization, SBML worked hard to map and understand the multitude of self-run schools in Moria. Once the schools were known to SBML, we aimed to support them with physical goods and material/curricular support. SBML supplied school supplies for approximately 1000 students attending community run schools monthly. Schools for men, women and children were all supported, and the teachers were invited to join the teacher training at Lyceum. In the beginning au August, we supported the opening computer laboratory in the new Lyceum place where camp residents could be trained. At the same time, Stand By Me Lesvos has been preparing to launch e-learning classes and building an e-learning platform. With the increasing number of Covid cases on the island, Moria academia classes had to adjust to the rules. Thus, we supplied hand sanitation and masks were supplied to the schools.
3.1.2 Relocation of Tailor’s activities at Lyceum
Tailor project : As the tailor workshop was happening in SBML’s school and the latter closed in March, the moved in June in SBML new warehouse, at Lyceum. From July to September, 20 women worked in the sewing workshop at the SMBL Lyceum Monday – Friday to produce fabric masks for camp residents. Roughly 600 masks were produced daily and distributed to camp residents through the recycling program of MCAT, through the teachers at Lyceum and the teachers of community schools in Moria. The masks were distributed to Academia students, team members and largely to camps residents through MCAT recycling points.
3.1.3 Classes and training of trainers.
First aid classes : although the project was planed in June, the classes started in the beginning of July with the objective of 1 person trained out of 50 based on the camp demographics. On July and august, 80 camp residents were attending the first aid classes per month. The classes were taught in 3 languages (Farsi, French, Arabic) and organized by gender and language. The classes took place every Tuesdays and Thursdays in old Moria camp for 4 hours. SBML’s role was to provide the location of the training (Lyceum warehouse) and the material needed (kits, cards, certificates for exemple) when BRF were conducting the classes as well as training the trainers. SBML’s role was also the demographic mapping and planning on who should be offered training based on camp demographic in order for each community to be have trainees in its rank. SBML organized ceremonies by zones in order to deliver the certificates. Because of Covid-19, SBML then stopped this ceremonies: during the summer, the graduates would pick up their diploma directly at Lyceum. After completing 3 trainings and undergoing first aid trainer training, individuals could join in providing First aid training alongside BRF: a total of 10 individuals completed Trainer Trainings in July and August, and could then directly teach the First Aid class.
3.1.4 Greek classes project
The Greek classes project started in 2018. It consists in Greek classes offered by the teachers of the Second Chance School of Mytilene in cooperation with SBML. Until March, the classes were taught twice a week and 30 students were attending the latter.Because of the first lockdown the classes were interrupted. The school restored inSeptember, in partnership with The Second Chance School of Mytilene and greek class was offered in Mytilene, where 20 students attended.
Academia school and sewing workshop activities were suspended from the 9th of September until beginning of October. Once in the new camp, Moria Academia’s activities started again with activities for children although they did not have any structure/tent. The classes were held outside.
3.1.5 Moria Animal Care
This project started after Moria burned in early September. Since, a group of young Afghans from takes care about abandoned cats near the old camp in Lyceum. More than 50 come every day for food and to take a rest. In 2020, SBML covers: shelter in Lyceum, food and its transportation, veterinarian and medication costs.
Waste Management and Awareness
3.2.1 Recycling project
The recycling project was very quickly successful and many camp residents were taking part of it. Because of this, there was long queue every day at the recycling station and therefore a need for decongestion. From July, the only recycling station located in Moria was split up in 3 different recycling points. Since, 32 MCAT members are working 6 days a week. It was a huge logistical challenge and the MCAT team did a very hard work every day to manage it. Additionally this was made possible thanks to the great cooperation with the local Greek company Agritellis that is implementing this project. During the summer, SBML bought essentially fresh bottles of water for recycling (2 pallets each time for 1000euros). The amount of collected bottles at the recycling stations increased from 12 000 to 15 000 per day as well as the purchase of cold water for a total of 1500 each day of recycling.
3.2.2 Upcycling classes
Although the camp was under strict regulation because of Covid, MCAT members were eager to continue the upcycling project. In small groups, with masks and in an open space, they continued the up cycling teaching and playing on raising awareness about better trash management.
3.2.3 Rubbish collection
Between July and September, the MWH continued their cooperation with the municipality in cleaning the olives groves of Moria camp. Thus, SBML continued to support them with necessary material and costs. Every month the MWH-Team is getting out 100 tons of rubbish from the Moria camp. The team expended from 70 team members in June to 120 in August. One big tasks of the MWH was for instance to clean up the old camp of Moria, and its « river » which contained a lot of rubbish and plastic. This was done because some rain was expected in the next day and thus permitted to prevent the rubbish to flood into the sea.
Corona awareness project : although the first Covid case in the island was reported in March 2020, the first Covid case was registered in Moria camp in the beginning of September 2020. At this time, already over 80 infections were registered on the island. There was no lockdown is Lesvos – appart for Moria camp – and the virus was spreading rapidly. More and more cases were registered every day.
Thus, MCAT ran several campaigns from July to September in different locations:
- In old Moria, the teams were distributing masks on a daily basis
- Two rounds of Covid-19 awareness posters were created and hung in and around the new camp. In Total, 600 A3 posters and 1800 A4 posters were produced and hung up.
3.2.5 Cleaning project outside the camp
Since September 2020 , every Friday, MWH team members, in collaboration with Mytilini Municipality work outside the camp to clean areas such as old Moria, Moria village, Mytilini city. When there is a need, the municipality call them to indicate the location to clean. The MWH received then a permission from the municipality that permit them to go out of the camp. This permits both communities to work together and is inevitably a tool for mediation. In this sense, SBML serves as a bridge between both actors. SBML were please to read a « thank you » letter from the Deputy Mayor of Lesvos, Mr. Dimitra Alexandri to MWH workers « for the great help » that they provided and that their contribution has been « evaluated positively ». This is exactly what SBML is aiming for : to be a bridge between different actors on the island, thus reducing the present tensions.
3.2.6 Moria Media Team
The Moria Media Team created a twitter account right after the fire, to report as much as possible the event. The account went rapidly famous and gained 2,5k followers within the first 24 hours for posting about the fire.
It is seen as a compilation of all the media activities of our partners and includes the people who are taking pictures, making videos and doing interviews. We strongly supported this initiative as it permits them to speak out loud and to communicate. It is one reason why we provide cell phone to the teams as well as internet recharges.
Before old Moria camp burned, SBML implemented a system of card which were credited of 10euros per week. This cards were distributed to 200 persons – the members of our partner organization in the camp – and permitted them to buy food in supermarkets.
3.3.1 Increase of team support after the fire
After the fire, most of the activities of the self-organized teams were disrupted. Moria Academia and the Tailor project had to be suspended until the beginning of October as the team members were left living in the street. Nevertheless, MCAT members were providing awareness, masks, disinfectant, while MWH were collecting rubbish in the street where migrants were blocked. SBML adopted the following reasoning in term of fire emergency response :
To whom SBML should send the emergency aid ?
Unlike other NGOs on the ground, we do not consider ourselves as a distribution NGO and we did not want to claim to distribute humanitarian aid to 12,000 people. Indeed, we wanted the supply of humanitarian aid to take place in a calm and dignified manner, which is impossible for a small and medium sized structure like ours to consider by organizing mass distributions. So the question was: according to our capacities, to how many people can we deliver emergency supply, and to whom ? Without too much hesitation, we therefore decided to supply the members of our partner teams who were living in the Moria camp, as well as their families. This represents 200 people who work on a daily basis in cooperation with SBML, 500 with their relatives.
How to organize a dignified emergency supply ?
In close collaboration with the coordinators of each partner team on site, the local population as well as international donors, SBML was able to organize food delivery to the locations of the asylum seekers as follows :
- Packing food each morning: 200 bags of which 175 were for the families and 25 for the single men. Every day, we called on four or five members of our partner teams to ensure that the packing was done as quickly as possible.
- Loading the food bags into a truck.
- Transporting the bags of food to the road where the members of our partner teams were located. This transport was provided by the Greek company Vasilis Agritelis.
- Unloading the materials by the coordinators to the managers of the partner teams.
- Delivery of food by the managers to all members of the partner teams, entrusting the distribution of items to the team leaders of MWH, MCAT and Moria Academia to ensure a dignified system.
The coordinators and managers of the partner teams distributed directly to all members. So, in practice, it was Afghan and Syrian asylum seekers who took care of the distribution of their own emergency aid to their own communities.
The interest of this procedure is that it allowed a dignified distribution without overflow in a crisis situation. It also creates empowerment and responsibility for the asylum seekers. SBML do not wish to work in the place of the beneficiaries, as we do not have the same language and culture, which would therefore be counterproductive. It was – ultimately – only a logistical and financial upstream support attributed to SMBL.
At the end of September 2020, asylum seekers were moved into the new temporary camp. From October SBML were providing food twice a week – every Tuesday’s and Friday’s. Process in its distribution perspective remained the same as during the crisis. Additionally, SBML set up a « clothing project » for the team members of ours partners organization inside the camp . It was set up fairly quickly due to strong demand. Still with the help of the coordinators of each team, we organized a space dedicated exclusively to clothings in the warehouse. Every day, SBML drivers would go to the entrance of the camp to pick up 5 members of our partner teams. They were accompanied to the warehouse in order to choose clothes for themselves and their families. We followed this organization over two weeks so that the 200 team members could come each one time. After these two weeks, we changed the organization because of the « less urgent » nature of the situation. Thus, the coordinators of each team now target the needs of their members on a weekly basis. Two days a week (Wednesday and Thursday), they can send representatives from their teams to choose the required clothing.
Free bus project : This project was settled after asylum seekers were moved to the new camp in September. The free bus started from Mytilene to camp and back in order to facilitate camp residents route to the city center as 3 kilometers distance the two locations. With the support of Logitech Germany, SBML was paying the bus and its drivers through Astiko ktel Greek company for shifts starting from 9am to 3 pm, 5 days a week. The amount of available passengers was 2100 for one month. (note : Unfortunately, the project is suspended since January 2021 because of the strict lockdown applied on Lesvos. )
3.3.2 Greek locals, hospital of Mytilini and Fire Brigade
This activity has not been affected by the fire of Moria. We continued to support vulnerable greek locals on a weekly basis. In addition:
- In August, the association for Multiple Sclerosis had severe problems to pay their electric bill. So we jumped in, and we just received this nice thank you letter from them. « The President and the Council of the association El pizo thanks SBML for the economic aid of 350euros offered for the payment of the electric bill »
- In August and September, we supported a local mask sewing factory and send face shields to the local health centre.
With the help of Europe Cares we were able to supply Mytillene fire brigade with face shields in August. They do a great and very important job: Almost every day they need to combat fires on the island and especially in and around Moria. SBML was also able to distribute face shields to hospital of Mytilene, fire brigades and other institutions in Kalloni municipality in August.
3.3.3 Samos and Leros
SBML continued to support and fundraise partners organizations in Leros (LCAT). In September for instance, we bought food bags for LCAT group that they distributed inside the quarantine area of the camp. During the summer, Leros activity were numerous (Eid festivity, classes, corona awareness campaigns, activities for children…)
OCT. – DEC. 2020
STRENGTHENING OF SELF RUN ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE NEW CAMP
In the beginning of October, we organized a meeting with all the team leaders from MCAT, Moria White Helmets and Moria Academia to discuss work in the new camp. Their activities re started within the new camp and some project were settled such as the electricity project, the free bus. This period was marked by the second lockdown in Lesvos starting from the 6th of November. As expected, the living conditions inside the camp went harder as the winter has set in. Storms, heavy rains and low temperatures hit the island. This led SBML to strengthen its support to communities in the island.
Facts: 7 Moria Academia classes • 250 students • 5 community school supported • 320 community students • 8 online classes • 75 online students • 40 participants to first aid training • 1 tailor workshop • 600 masks/day • 200 bags/day • 1 Web seminar • 1 open letter • Over 50 medias articles • 30 MWH members working in recycling • 1 000 dirty bottles collected/day • 2 recycling stations • 32 MCAT members • 20 000 to 25 000 bottles collected/day • 2 awareness campaigns • 1 300 posters • 4 zones inside camp covered by electricity team • 20 bicycles given to team members • 647 pairs of shoes supplied to camp residents • 400 blankets supplied to camp residents • 350 sleeping mattresses supplied to camp residents • 13 pallets to Samos • 6 pallets to Diavata • 6 pallets to Leros • 2500 chrismes packs • 1 hospital supported • Over 4000 food bags sent to team members between October and December
4.1.1 Moria academia classes structure within the new camp
While space was an issue in the new camp, with highly limited exits of camp residents, an educational space outside the camp is not practical. Therefore, while SBML continued to request space for educational activities of Moria Academia school, we have been able to continue with several of the original aspects of the education project. From October, 7 classes have been able to find space to meet under the umbrella of Stand By Me Lesvos. These 7 classes serve approximately 250 students in learning English, art and Arabic. In addition, 5 community schools have been able to continue with our support and serve approximately 320 students. The Greek classes unfortunately had to stop because of the lockdown that started beginning of November. At this time, there were 13 team members.
4.1.2 E-learning classes
Further more, SBML began e-learning classes . It consists in free programs available for all refugees. The development of the program started in November. In December the platform hosted Greek classes and in January English classes for a total of online in 8 online classes, serving 75 students. German online classes are to set to launch in January 20201. Additionally, the team of remote teachers are working diligently to update and further build out the English curriculum and create/convert a Greek curriculum. The greek classes were operated by students of the Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki.
4.1.3 First aid training
First aid training and training of first aid trainers was able to restart in November with 10 participants per class due to Covid regulation, trained in first aid in twice weekly first aid classes, and 5 individuals have completed the training of trainers course to become a First Aid Trainer. We delivered certificates both in October, and at the end of December. we were able to deliver the certificates for the participants of the First Aid Courses. This year we were able to train in total 250 camp residents and will continue in the goal of 1 in 50 trained based on the demographics of the new camp.
4.1.4 Tailor project
The Tailor project was able to restart in October after the fire with 20 women leaving camp (with the Free bus project that SBML settled) daily to go to the Lyceum warehouse and resumed making approximately 600 masks per day. These masks were again distributed to camp residents through the recycling program of MCAT, through the teachers with SBML and the teachers of community schools in the new camp. Once the programs had sufficient masks, it was requested that the sewing workshop create cloth bags for a more sustainable option for camp residents. So the sewing team began to construct reusable cloth bags, which were distributed to students and recycling project participants. Approximately 200 bags were sewn daily. Upon request, the sewing team is able to redirect, for a short period of time, to begin making masks again according to the needs of the camp.
4.1.5 Erasmus project
On the 15th of November, SBML took part of a zoom conference as part as a project we do with Erasmus+ program we do with Northern Lights in Kavalla, Indigo in Samos and Wadi in Germany. Together with other international partners we developed a toolbox for volunteers and in this conference our partners from MCAT and MWH and we introduced the concept of refugee self organisations groups that proved to be so successful during the last month here and on other Greek islands.We explained that this idea is deeply rooted in the Geneva Convention and the UNHCR originally was even promoting it, why MCAT quotes them in their constitution. We all deeply believe this concept helps to solve so many problems and also changes the way refugees are seen.
In addition to all of the educational opportunities Stand By Me Lesvos was able to offer in this strained situation, we have also been designing a mobile classroom, which when completed, will allow a warm, weather resistant place that can be placed anywhere in the camp and provide 2 additional classrooms per bus. When completed, these buses will offer First Aid, art, computer, sewing, chess, music, and language classes. The space will be a joint project used by Stand By Me Lesvos and accessible to self-organized classes to utilize the space.
Waste Management and Awareness
4.2.1 Upcycling classes
Upcycling classes have also been able to restart in November. Every Saturday, 2 MCAT members are providing education to approximately 30 students per week. This is part of the recycling and waste management program we help our partners to implement.
Recycling : The project was able to re start on the first of October within the new camp. In the meantime, MCAT started to cooperate with MWH within the recycling project. Because only clean empty bottles can go to recycling, a minimum of 30 MWH members collect 5 days a week dirty bottles inside the new camp for a total of 1000 bottles on a daily basis. It is our aim to separate bottles from the other rubbish and to get as many as possible to the recycling plan. This helps the environment of the island, raises awareness and enables camp residents to receive goods in exchange to their empty bottles.
Twice a week every Monday and Wednesday, SBML sent items from our warehouse to recycling (tomato paste, rice, pasta, powdered milk, beans). Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we buy 1500 items from Vasilis Agritelis company (juice, milk, potatoes and bananas). Finally, since December, « Hope project » organization supplies hygiene items every Fridays that go to recycling. Since November, the recycling stations collect daily about 20.000 to 25.000 bottles that go out of the camp to be recyled.
4.2.3 Rubbish collection project outside the new camp
Every fridays, MWH team continued its project in cooperation with the municipality in collecting rubbish outside the camp.
Covid awareness: MCAT activities were speed up as the second lockdown hit Lesvos in the beginning of November. We continued to provide masks, gloves and all the material needed in order to provide preventive aid within the new camp.
In the beginning of December, MCAT organized a new campaign. Once again, we supplied 800 posters that were hang out everywhere inside and outside the camp. The second campaign occurred in the end of December for a total of 500 posters. We printed less posters as the number of camp residents decreased.
4.2.5 Electricity project
This project has been initiated by the camp manager November and is supported by SBML in cooperation with the Moria White Helmets. Within the MWH, 14 are skilled and qualified as electricians. Thus, they are working inside the camp to 1.settle electricity spots 2. fix electricity damages in different zones of the camp. Since the end of November until the end of December, they have been 17 days, from morning until night, in blue, green, red, yellow zones of the camp. Meanwhile « Low Tech » NGO provides some tools and materials, SBML is taking care of transportation and incentives for 14 workers that are part of the Moria White Helmet.
4.2.6 Open letter
In December, Raed al Obeed and Omid Deen Mohammed, respective coordinators of MWH and MCAT, wrote a third open letter to the President of the European commission, Madam Van der Leyen and to europeans in order to alarm the European community about the living conditions within the new camp and to express out loud revendications. This open letter was then translated in a wide range of languages (French, German, Dutch, Greek, Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Arabic, Farsi, Austrian, Bulgarian, Polish) and sent to many medias all around Europe. SBML encouraged the coordinators in this project and helped in translation.
Thus, we could read about their letter especially in German medias such as Der Tagesspiegel; Nex 24 News , in some French medias (Mediapart ; Liberation ; AFP ); Dutch (IndyMedia; Krapuul); Greek with Politika Lesvos and some Italian medias, and also in Al araby which broadcast information in Arabic.
4.2.7 Fire brigade training courses
In November, started the cooperation between our partners inside the new camp and the fire brigade of Mytilini. The latter provided one training course as a pilote class with hope for future expansion, to members of our partner teams. It is organized in cooperation with the camp management and is part of a larger program to increase safety in the camp and fix the electrical networks. A lot of camp residents enlisted to assist. They are electricians or were members of fire brigades themselves. As we always say we believe in the strength of self organization. Later on, the Lesvos Fire Brigade asked us if we can supply them with masks with their logo and we are more than happy to do so.
4.2.8 Moria Media Team wins Pre Build Award price
We were pleased to learn that a member of the Moria Media Team that we support was awarded on a photography competition : Muhanned al Mandil’s picture taken in April in Moria camp won the third place of the Pre Build Award in the category NGO. Finally, from September to December 2020, the Moria Media Team gained 3700 followers on Twitter which is a big success in term of ratings.
4.3.1 Team members and extra support due to winter
From November to December, our partners inside the camp received twice a week dry food from our warehouse. It is part of the incentives we provide them. In total it represents 932 bags that were packed in the warehouse and sent to camp through the coordinators and managers of our partners inside camp. In addition, we organized extra distributions. In October, SBML provided bicycles to our partners thanks to donations. In addition, October, we were able to manage sand and gravel to MWH team that they could help putting gravel and fix more tents after rain. In December, team members from Moria Academia helped pumping water out of tents inside the camp, and in the camp with a pump we purchased for them.
In December, SMBL demand increased due to the devastating weather conditions :
- In the beginning of December, we transferred sleeping, bags and mattresses from our warehouse to the blue zone which is the closest location next to the sea, and in which the Africans are living. This distribution went through community leaders to the African communities
- We also helped to organize a shoes distribution from our warehouse and « Hope Project »’s one : all our partners and many community leaders were asking around about needs and sizes and we sorted hundreds of shoes. We started referencing and distributing shoes to the children and adult shoes for our partners, and mattresses, sleeping bags and other stuff for communities.
4.3.2 Cooperation with Hope Project
In December, SBML, MCAT, MWH and Moria Academia started a partnership with « Hope Project » organization. We would make contact between Hope Project that is called to providing supply to our partners inside the camp through the recycling project for instance, or to all camp residents. On the 15th of December, Hope Project donated to our partners all their sleeping bags, in order for the latter to be re distributed to camp residents. It has been quantified as 400 blankets, 350 sleeping mats and a large amount of wellingtons boots.
4.3.3 Support of Greek locals and hospital
In October SBML delivered disinfection, soap and other materials to the local hospital in Agiassos in the center of Lesvos island. Earlier in October, and on the 17th of November, we also provided disinfection and boxes of masks and face shield to the hospital as the pandemic was hitting Lesvos hard and daily new cases were reported. Thus, we try our best to help the local hospital, the only place where serious cases can be treated. In the beginning of October, SBML supported a kindergarden in Agiassos and a local initiative of the church to help in Zimbabwe. In November, SBML sent 70 of each flour, tea, sugar, oil, chickpeas, rice, pasta, tomato paste, salt and 110 kg of potatoes to greek locals through the municipality of Mytilene. We also sent salt and chickpeas to Zaporeak kitchen and Home for all.
In, December, SBML also supported vulnerable greek locals as following :
- On the 2nd, SBML provided chickpeas in addition to the cooked food to vulnerable Greeks in Kalloni municipality.
- On the 19th, SBML provided chicken, chickpeas, fresh bred and several items from our warehouse to Agiasous.
- On the 22nd, « Eypoio » and « Sitizo » organizations in Kalloni were able to distribute bags to vulnerable people with our support (purchase of items distributed).
- On the 23rd, food distribution for Christmas to poor and vulnerable citizens of Lesvos in Kalloni Municipality in co-operation with local volunteers.
4.3.4 Leros and Samos island
On October 17th, SBML sent 4 pallets to Samos island ( tents, note books, hand and surface disinfection, soap, masks, shampoo, tooth brush, T- shirt, sleeping bags and mattresses), 6 pallets to Diavata camp ( tents, sleeping bags and blankets, powdered milk, shampoo, masks, soap, baby food and T-shirt) and 6 pallets to Leros island (feminine pads, diapers, soap, hands and surface disinfectant, shampoo, masks, T-shirts, tents, blankets, sleeping mattresses, toothbrushes, clothes and baby food)
Additionally, we sent 6 pallets to Just Action in Samos on November 2nd aiming to help them facing the emergency situation : blankets, sleeping bags and tents, dry food (rice, oil, pasta and sugar), hygiene items (shampoo, soap, tooth brushes and paste, sanitary pads, wipes, hand gel and masks). Finally, on November 13th, we sent 3 pallets of tents, blankets and sleeping bags.
Leros Refugee Group of Leros island, stopped their activities as remained very little amount of camp residents : most residents were given passage to the mainland. This is the good news, because we all want these camps to be dismantled. Our work is to make ourselves superfluous and in Leros this happened.
4.3.5 Christmas distribution
SBML helped to organize a Christmas distribution within the camp, with the cooperation of :
- MWH, Moria Academia, MCAT on the ground and
- Human Plus (Germany), Plattform Solidarität Oberösterreich, Verein Begegnung Arcobaleno, Budbringeren fra Helvete, OASCH KV,The Hope Project and Leavenoonebehind (From Austria and Norway).
2500 Christmas parcels were packed individually in Germany and Austria and shipped to Lesvos. The packages were sorted for newborns, toddlers, children and teenagers, boys and girls. SBML bought the gifts for teenagers (16 to 18) from local shops. The trucks arrived in our warehouse. Using the camp demographics, the gifts were distributed accordingly. Until every minor had her/his parcel, this was all organized and managed by more than 100 team members of our partner organizations. This project once again showed how efficient refugee self organization works. The narrative changed: instead of europeans and authorities distributing Christmas gift to refugees, the refugees themselves distributed the latter to their communities. SBML are glad to help to enable this in the background with providing logistics and some organization.
We also distributed some of the parcels to poor families in Pamfila Municiaplity which is close to Kara Tepe camp. In a thank you message we received they said: « Your gifts made happy some Greek children that they are really needed, believe me those kinds were almost at the same situation. »
Stand By Me Lesvos
Donors and partners
International donors and partners
International donors and partners: Arcobaleno – fundraising/Christmas • Aristoteles University of Thessaloniki – Greek e-teachers • Aktion pro Humanität – Emergency Aid • Avicenna Hilfswerk – Education • Be A Robin – Fund raising • Boat Refugee Foundation – 1st aid training • Budbringeren fra Helvete – Support of Christmas presents • Chancengleichheit in Europa e.V. – Emergency Aid • Cityofhope Cologne e.V.- Emergency Aid • Daniel Kubirski/Heidelberg-hilft – Emergency Aid • Donate 4 Refugees -Electricity Project • Diakonia Katastrophenhilfe Austria – Recycling • Embla Bunader – Financial support • Flüchtlingshilfe Erding e.V. – Emergency Aid • Hamburger Hilfskonvoi – Emergency Aid • Hanseatic Help e.V. – Emergency Aid • Heimatstern e.V.- Material support • Henneveld Office- Emergency Aid • Human Aid Collective – Material support • Human plus – Material support • Hotel Votsala OnLesvos – Electricity project/education • Kindernothilfe e. V. – Sewing factory and Recycling • Leave no one behind -Transport costs • Leipziger Seebrücke – Schafft sichere Häfen • Liebe im Karton – Material support/Christmas • Lore Keller Stiftung- Education • Mannheim sagt ja – Education • Medico international- Awareness, Education and Emegerncy Aid • Michael Graversen- Warehouse supply • Montessori Schule Wiesbaden- Education • Office of Displaced Designers – Academia/ mobile class design/ fundraising • Päm Päm Berlin- Emergency Aid • Plattform Solidarität Oberösterreich – Christmas project • Plastfritt Hav – Waste management/ financial support • Positive Action in Housing Ltd – Electricity Project • Ratujmy dzieci z Morii – Recycling • Schasuspiel Mannheim -Education • Seebrücke- Emergency Aid • Second Chance School of Mytilene – Education • Solidarität International – Education, Food for Greek citizens, Waste Management • Solingen hilft -Education and Recycling • Templer Komturei Regensburg – Emergency Aid • Tilrettelagt Omsorg – Financial support • Tino de Vries – Emergency Aid • Vasilis Agritelis – Material support/ computers • Wadi e. V. – General Support • Willkommen in Nippes – Emergency Aid.
Local donors and partners Home for all – Food • International School of Peace – Education • The Hope Project – Partner’s supply • Zaporeak – Food.
We want to thank all our donors and partners that make our work possible. We hope to have mentioned everybody – and we are very sorry if we forgot somebody.