We’ve been successfully operating in one of the Greek Government’s official Refugee Camps in Alexandreia since 4 April 2016. Conditions are harsh so we are trying to make life a little better for everyone on the camp and to support the local Greek economy. At the heart of what we do is a system for the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid that is consistent, fair and dignified.
There are about 800 Syrian refugees living in tents in a former military base in Alexandreia. About a third are aged 12 or under and just under half are under 16.
We work closely with the UN Refugee Agency, the camp commander and other NGOs on the camp and they all recognize the critical role we play.
We have built a network of volunteers and donors who give their time and resources for free to support the camp residents.
We help by providing more immediate and flexible support for refugees than the large aid organisations are able to provide. In just 4 months, we have established:
- A ‘free shop’ and fair, dignified system distributing toiletries, baby products, tent items and healthy food
- A ‘clothes boutique’ so every refugee can choose quality controlled clothing they need once every 3 weeks from a wide range of clothes on hangers (we even have a changing room)
- A community space by renovating a derelict site building with doors, windows, electricity, a tea bar, games, cinema and high speed WiFi
- Two swings for kids as part of a bigger playground under development for the kids
- An off-site warehouse with fork-lift to receive and sort donations
- Regular dignified distributions of other essentials such as shoes, buggies and mosquito nets
- Hotel respite for post-partum Mums and their new-born babies
As a result, we are making life a little more comfortable, we are improving their health and we are contributing to a more harmonious, supportive camp environment. Every family gets:
- A regular basket of essentials and fruit and vegetables twice a week
- Good quality and nicely presented clothes in a friendly shop environment
- Regular cinema nights and refugee-led adult activities in our community space
- Physical activities for the children
We will be directing all future donations to:
- Continue developing a community kitchen to provide more nutritious food and reduce the risk of fire on the camp. From mid-September we will be offering 1 hot meal a week for every refugee rising to 6 hot meals a week by the end of October
- Renovate 2 rooms on the site to convert them to classrooms for the 57 x 4-7 year olds on the site under the supervision of the Greek Minsitry of Education
- Expand the playground for the children with more swings, slides and other play equipment
- Install a bank of computers in the Community Space with stable and accessible internet access
- Create similar distribution and support systems in other camps – since August we have already started distributing food in Giannitsa and Veria camps
- Ensure that our current services continue to operate consistently
We are now a charitable fund operating under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, charity number 1099682.
That means that we are eligible for gift aid and as Prism regulates our donations, there is greater transparency over our spending. You can donate here.