We have decided to temporarily stop all our activities on Lesvos due to security concerns. We are constantly monitoring the situation, and while we do hope that we can resume our work as soon as possible, it is at this point difficult to say if and when we will be back on the island.
On Lesvos we have established a Drop Center, 15 minutes walking distance from Moria Refugee Camp and work inside Moria Refugee camp, where we organize activities for unaccompanied male minors every evening. Despite the significant number of NGOs working with refugees on Lesvos, there are still great needs. The number of refugees steadily increases with the arrival of new boat refugees from Turkey. We cooperate with other organizations as needed, and sometimes arrange social café, movie nights, distributions etc. On Lesvos we work at separate locations during the day:
- Drop Centre in Moria village
- Drop Learning Centre
- Section A, B and Safe Zone for unaccompanied minors (boys and girls) in Moria Camp
- Kitrinos Clinic
Drop Centre, Moria City
With a specific focus on, education and skill development projects, A Drop in the Ocean opened a Drop Centre in Moria Village the summer of 2018. Our local Drop Centre is a space where everyone is welcomed to engage in different activities in a safe environment. Mostly it provides a break from Moria Camp, where people will live for an unknown time. We have a playing area for the youngest and make activities and play games with the older children. Every week, more than 400 women, children and men visit our centre.
The activities we offer are:
In collaboration with Beyond Borders, we offer non-formal education to children of Moria Camp aged 6 – 8. The aim of the programme is to prepare children for formal education with a course duration of 3 months, teaching them English, maths, art and singing, in addition to other components of NFE and familiarising them with a classroom environment. The children are picked up at 9:00am and returned to the camp at 12:30pm, Monday to Friday. The need for schooling for the children of Moria Camp is extremely high, due to the limited formal education providers, which means that many children stay for months without attending any type of school.
From knitting to sewing, to yoga, to dancing, the Women’s Space is a safe zone for women and their children to come and enjoy their free time. This takes place two days a week between 11:00 and 13:30.
Adult English Classes is one of our most successful activities that has been going on since we started our community centre in Moria village in July 2018. Learning English is a fundamental part of refugee integration in Europe and as a result, emphasis has been put on providing a structured, learning-friendly environment, where students can acquire knowledge and develop their English language competency. We offer 4 levels; Foundation, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, all taught twice a week for one and a half hours. Three of our long-term volunteers have created a curriculum with specific lesson plans, and a duration of 10 weeks, to satisfy students’ need for consistency in teaching and give them a chance to progress to more advanced levels. The curriculum has been created to accommodate all types of volunteer teachers, from volunteers with no previous teaching experience, to qualified teachers who find a curriculum which they can build upon. The Curriculum is developed and improved with time and its implented at other learning facilities on the island
We are fortunate to have a local volunteer from Moria village who has been delivering Greek classes since October 2018. These come in 3 levels; Foundation, Level 1 and Level 2, each taught twice a week for one hour. Both men and women who attend the classes are eager to learn the language, and their progress is impressive.
Painting Class (Women, men & Children only)
The Painting Class is run by a resident volunteer who is an experienced artist and takes place twice a week. The levels range from complete beginner to advanced, and we work with acrylic paint, water colours, pencils and charcoal. Our students are encouraged to work on canvas, and their work is then sold to visitors. These funds enable us to support the project in the long term.
The A Drop in the Ocean Football Team consists of 18 refugees. Like in the painting class, the levels vary. Training takes place twice a week, and is run by a German Coach and a Coordinator. The training is essential as it allows those with less experience to develop their game.
Computer Class is an educational activity which gives students vocational skills that they can use in their future jobs, and empowers resident volunteers with a computer background to teach a class and transfer their knowledge to others. With the rapid evolution of technology, computer literacy is a major factor in our lives, thus we offer computer classes in two levels to beginner and advanced students, twice a week. Both classes are taught by resident volunteers in their mother tongue with the aim to familiarise students with email, Word documents and the basic functions of a PC. The advanced class focus on developing work-related skills such as Excel and PowerPoint presentations.
The evening cafe is an activity we started in October 2018, attracting on average over 50 visitors per day, making it the most popular activity based on the number of people attending. The aim of the activity is to provide a safe and cosy environment where people can socialise, drink tea/coffee, play card/board games, dance, listen to music, as well as repair their clothes in the sewing room. Theme evenings take place a few times a week, from FIFA tournaments to guitar sessions, where visitors can participate, but also actively get involved in organising these events.
Chess Club takes place twice a week in the evenings. A popular activity that has seen refugees come with zero knowledge of the game to now employing advanced tactics and thinking several moves ahead in their games. Classes begin with a seminar on tactics, openings, puzzles etc. These are interactive and all residents take part.
Drop Learning Centre
In the first week of December we will open a new space to be used for educational activities like English, Greek and computer classes.
Moria Refugee camp
Moria Refugee Camp now houses over 16. 000 humans. Over 50% are women and children and the vast majority of the people living in camp are from Afghanistan (82 %). The Camp, which originally has the capacity to house 3000 residents, is overcrowded and characterised by need, lack of security, poor hygienic conditions and insufficient food supply. The camp consists of Iso-boxes, tents and other alternative solutions.
From March 2019 A Drop in the Ocean started to work inside Moria Refugee camp, in Section B where we organize activities for unaccompanied male minors in the hours from 20-22. From May 2019 we also included Section A, and the goal of the activities is to be a preventive and supportive offer for the almost 300 unaccompanied male minors living in both sections of the camp. In August 2019 we started with activities for unaccompanied children, girls below 18 and boys below 12, in the Safe Zone in Moria Camp. Activities include board games, painting workshops, yoga for children, learning fun and craft, exercise activities, upcycling, planting and ball games. We work in the sections everyday except Fridays and Saturdays.
In September we extended our work in Moria recruiting medical personell to assist Kitrinos Healthcare in their clinic in Moria camp. A team of dedicated volunteers consisting of a coordinator, doctors, nurses, an administrative secretary, translators, pharmacists, and more ensure that the residents of Moria receives medical care.
The clinic provides both first aid and primary health care including the following:
- Antenatal care, family and birth planning
- Psychological first aid and secondary trauma
- Triage and referral
- Transportation services for high risk patients
- Chronic disease management
- Optometry and dentistry
- Cancer care
The clinic is fully equipped with all basic medical needs in terms of equipment and a selection of commonly used medication. The Clinic is open Saturday to Thursday from 09.00 – 16.00. Field workers will be expected to work at least 6 days per week (long-term volunteers usually have two days off a week or more when in need).
To join us as a medical volunteer you must have a valid medical licence and be able to commit for minimum 2 weeks.
Two of our previous Field Workers in the Emergency team, Cecilie Holm-Johnsen and Laurie Tanner, have written about their experiences from working in the Clinic as medical nurses. Read the article “Our Medical Work in Moria” here
We encourage people with experience in working with vulnerable children and teenagers, teachers, translators, medical personell and general volunteers to sign up.
Introduction and training in field
It is highly recommended for volunteers to rent a car if they are to volunteer with us in this area.A Drop in the Ocean is not responsible for volunteers’ transportation. Volunteers can carpool with other volunteers at the location and split the costs.We want to disclose that living costs are somewhat more expensive on the islands than on the mainland, especially during the summer season. To volunteer with us on Lesbos we require that you can volunteer for a minimum of 10 working days.Introduction and training in the field takes place on Mondays and Thursdays every week. You cannot volunteer with us before having gone through this training. Thus, we recommend that you arrive the evening before the training at the latest.