Refugee population at (extreme) risk. As Corona Virus spreads around the globe, little attention has been paid the to unique risk that refugees face from the virus. The virus spreads quickly in close quarters, and since there is currently no cure, the only measures that can be taken are preventative ones. In Lesvos, aid workers have long been warning of the serious risk of pandemic at the camp, due to the terrible hygiene conditions, the lack of potable water, no clean toilets, raw sewage, living in tents in the rain and cold, and poor health care available. This makes preventative measures such as regular hand washing, almost impossible. The perfect preconditions are here for the virus to cause maximum damage, in a place that is already at a breaking point. We are working hard and requesting donations to support projects that keep the camp safe.
Going on“I believe that even the most complex of problems can be solved through education”. This was said by Mixalis who is the director for Stand By Me Lesvos. This was also his primary reason for creating Stand By Me Lesvos, as he recognized how important for example English is to stay connected and to be integrated into different communities and societies. The non-governmental organisation has been active in providing informal education to asylum seekers on Lesvos since 2017.
Since March 2020, Stand By Me Lesvos adopted some additional terms to their practice, and expanded their cornerstones to the importance of self-ownership and self empowerment. This is why Stand By Me Lesvos has been facilitating and supplying support to several self-organizations inside the camp, such as our partners Moria Corona Awareness Team, Moria White Helmets and Moria Academia. The dynamics of supporting our self-organized partners can best be described as “help to self-help”. To us, this was a natural step, because what is education worth if one cannot utilize what one already knows?
We are called Stand By Me Lesvos, because we see Lesvos as one. We acknowledge that Lesvos has faced several challenges, whereas the year 2020 has been particularly tough for the island. Everything from the violent conflicts we experienced at the early start of the year, to Moria Camp burning down, to a loss of tourism and economic decline forcing more and more Greek citizens under the poverty line. For this, we stand together as Greek citizens, a handful of long-term international team-members and self-organised groups of asylum-seekers supporting one another to get through these difficult times.
This was made particularly evident in March when covid-19 posed a threat to the island, and whoever resided here, be it a Greek citizen, asylum seeker or an international person. We all found ourselves in the same position, that should we fall sick, then we are all dependent upon the same hospital that is not equipped to deal with such a crisis. Covid-19 does not discriminate between background and nationality, and neither do we. We believe it is up to every single person to act cautiously in order to keep everyone safe, and in this, we stand together for everyone at Lesvos.
A great Network
This project is embedded in a larger network of organizations and media from Greece and Middle East who are working on the same topic. We are happy for any input and cooperation.
Our Partners in the camp
We support and facilitate the work of 3 refugee-led groups in the camp, Moria Corona Awareness Team - Moria White Helmets - Moria Academia, and provide support for the vulnerable communities of Lesvos.
Some of our posters in Moria Camp and on social media, in five languages.
Refugees in Europe’s ‘largest refugee camp’ self-organise coronavirus awareness campaign as cases rise | tremr.com
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