Where are we now: Aid with Dignity

19/12/16

At the heart of what we do is a system for the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid that is consistent, fair and dignified.

Refugee Support Europe has been successfully operating in the Greek Government’s official Refugee Camps since April 2016. Conditions are harsh and the need is great so we are trying to make life a little better for all the refugees and to support the local Greek economy.

Co-operation is critical. We work closely with the UN Refugee Agency, the site managers and other NGOs and they all recognize the critical role we play. We can respond more quickly and more personally and have built a network of volunteers and donors who give their time and resources for free to support the camp residents. As a result, we are improving refugees’ health, wellbeing and opportunities.

At the beginning of November, we are now operating in two refugee camps – Alexandreia and Filippiada – with about 800 Syrian and Afghan refugees. That number could easily double over the next month as refugees from the islands are transferred.

In Alexandreia:
• A well-stocked mini-market offering every family the opportunity to choose what they need once a week by using an innovative ‘points’ system
• A ‘Clothes boutiques’ so every refugee gets the clothing they need once every 3 weeks
• A community space renovated from a derelict site building with doors, windows, electricity, a tea bar, games, 15 computers and high speed WiFi
• Six swings, two see-saws and trim trail for kids as part of a bigger playground under development
• Created two classrooms for the Greek government so they can educate the 4-6 year olds
• A community kitchen so every refugee gets a regular hot meal and we reduce the risk of fire
• An off-site warehouse with fork-lift to receive and sort donations
• Respite care off the camp for post-partum Mums and their new-born babies

In Filippiada:
• Overall control of the on-site warehouse containing different shop spaces
• A well-stocked mini-market offering every family the opportunity to choose what they need once a week by using an innovative ‘points’ system
• Separate Men’s, Women’s and Children’s ‘boutiques’ appropriately decorated so every refugee clothing they need once every 3 weeks
• A ‘Shoe-tique’ to regularly distribute shoes

About a third are aged 12 or under and just under half are under 16 so we run regular activities with the children in co-operation with the other NGOs. We’ve also just launched a Refugee Penfriend programme to bring together children now in Greek refugee camps with children in Europe.

All this is improving physical and mental wellbeing and we do it by respecting their dignity.