Our work on Lesvos

Currently there are more than 17.000 refugees and migrants on the island Lesvos, most of them - about 15.000 – are living in or around the “Hotspot” Moria, among them at least 700 unaccompanied minors (updated August 2020). People live crammed together in very confined spaces, have limited access to sanitary facilities, healthcare, education; and live in daily uncertainty about their situation. The life-threatening conditions in Moria have already cost many people’s life. Protests against the living conditions are most of the time ended repressively. Because of the Covid19 pandemic the camps on the island are under lockdown for several months now.

With our sister organization Borderline-Lesvos we are supporting refugees and migrants with following projects:

Welcome Office:

In Mytilini, capital of the island our Welcome Office assists with bureaucratic steps. It is also a point for refugees to exchange and connect – among themselves but also with local people. We provide:

  • A reliable contact point for People on the Move with regular opening hours
  • Assisting with getting a tax number, social insurance number, unemployment card and filling in forms
  • Assisting with finding a job and an apartment 
  • Assisting with finding educational- and leisure activities for children and teenager
  • Encouraging setting up ideas which strengthen the feeling of community and collectivity 

Welcome Lessons:

In our Welcome Lessons children and teenager between 12 and 18 years get access to a basic education. Classes are conducted by professional teachers and long-term staff, in order to design a stable and sustainable relationship and program for the children. Our aim is to enrol children in public schools after our small “welcome package”. Our program includes:                            

  • Basic language skills in Greek and English
  • Basic math and geography classes
  • A creative art workshop twice a week

Proti Stassi:

In the north and northeast of the island we are engaged in the first reception of refugees: Proti Stassi (Greek for “First Stop”) wishes to make the life of the just arriving humans in flimsy dingy boats a bit easier. This can be transportation from the shore to the first reception area, providence of a warm space and of dry clothes, water, a snack, some information and most important a welcoming friendly face within the whole emergency situation. 

Depending on the location and number of arriving boats we try to cooperate with local people and organizations to support a kind of welcoming culture. Due to the constantly changing political structure regarding the first reception of refugees and migrants in the north of the island, our support varies a lot. At the moment we are denied almost any direct contact to new people arriving and are witnessing many illegal push backs to Turkey.

Public relations:

We provide background knowledge such as information about other organizations in the field. We are involved in reports on different issues and do also networking and monitoring work. In order to bring about a real change of the situation of refugees and migrants on Lesvos it is essential to question the political situation behind the circumstances here.

Linked publications:

  • Interview with Alice and Stratos: https://www.borderline-europe.de/sites/default/files/readingtips/Interview%20borderline%20lesvos.pdf
  • Letter from Lesbos #1: https://www.borderline-europe.de/unsere-arbeit/ohne-worte-–-ein-brief-aus-lesbos

Link to our website: https://borderlinelesvos.org/