Supporting Child Refugees in Greece

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Child Refugees focusing on their lessons at the Stand by me Lesvos Center 

Wadi has been supporting refugees in Greece since 2017. Working with partner NGOs to provide shelter, psycho-social support, and food for the most vulnerable of refugees:  ‘single women’ and unaccompanied children travelling hundreds of kilometres alone, only to find violence, sexual assault, fear, and desperation.

The situation in Lesvos continues to escalate and deteriorate.  There are currently 13,000 refugees housed in the Moria camp, originally meant to house 3,000 people. According to a UNICEF report from August 2019 there are currently 1,100 unaccompanied children at the Moria camp. These children are extremely vulnerable, dealing with difficult daily realities, processing trauma and more.

Luckily at least some organisations and people try to help and make a difference. Our  partner NGO “Stand by me Lesvos” has a unique project, offering education, lessons and a safe space for women and children close to the notorious Moria camp. The project is fully based on volunteer work: local Greeks, refugees and internationals co-operate together to make it possible. Currently more than 350 women and children attend classes every week.

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Volunteer Teacher teaching English to Refugee Women

Wadi Staff has most recently decided to support  ‘Stand by me Lesvos’ by personally providing a minibus to transport teachers, volunteers and refugees from Mytillini City to the project and back. But cars are expensive in Greece. Therefore we purchased a used bus in Germany and brought it all the way to Lesvos.

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Wadi Team (left) and Stand by me Lesvos Team (right) in front of the new bus.

This work is part of Wadi’s continued commitment to increase the capacity of NGOs working on similar issues with shared values. We have done this in the past supporting and increasing the technical capacity of  various NGOs and projects.  We chose in 2017 to work with local Lesvos NGO   Stand by me Lesvos; a collection of local Lesvos teachers, professors and small business owners that decided to come together to create an opportunity where refugees can improve their education, and grow their skill sets. We were interested in their different approach, in their words “we are taking a bad situation and with very little funds, working to make a safe, positive space, where we can train and teach refugees, and advise them on how to reintegrate from the margins of camp life, back into mainstream society”.

Wadi continues to support the work of ‘Stand by me Lesvos’ and in 2019 we are sharing knowledge and ideas based on our experiences working with refugees and IDPs in Iraqi Kurdistan, fostering south-south cooperation and exchange of lessons learned.

Please consider supporting the important work of “Stand by me Lesvos” with your donation too. We should not leave the refugees and inhabitants of Lesvos and other Greek islands alone!

You can support this project by donating here.