As of May 2017, A Drop in the Ocean is present on the island of Chios, in Northern Greece and in the area of Athens. We work directly inside the refugee camps, often regulated by the National Greek Military.
Our main work tasks are to distribute food, clothes and non-food items. We are also involved in planning and organizing different activities for children and adults in the camps. Furthermore, we assist in teaching English as well as provide material and logistics for bilingual education. We are cooperating with different organizations in all camps, such as UNHCR, Help Refugees, Save the Children, the international Red Cross and other partners.
Our volunteers participate in distribution, warehouse logistic, activities for children and construction of various gathering points for the refugees. Working as a volunteer demand many hours of working both inside and outside the camps. When volunteering, you are expected to contribute in a positive manner and accept different kind of tasks that are given to you by our local coordinators. We are completely dependent on volunteer assistance, and all volunteers must fully commit to the team they have been assigned with.
Around 55.000 people live on the island of Chios, situated in the Aegean Sea. This is the island that receives the most refugees. Chios is often called “the windy island” because of periodically strong winds. Dress accordingly, and remember that winters can be cold and unpredictable.
At Chios, we are operating in the refugee camp Souda, situated a ten minute walk from the centre of Chios town.
On a daily basis, we are handing out breakfast, lunch and dinner to around 800 people. We also participate in the preparation of the food. In addition, we organise activities for kids, such as reading, drawing and dancing.
We have our own warehouse where we sort and pack clothes that are distributed to refugees who live outside the organised camps.
IMPORTANT! Volunteering with us in Chios requires that you can work in pre defined 10-days periods (or longer). This is for all new registrations and does not occur for already accepted start dates. Start-up, with training session on site can be the following dates:
August: 1., 7., 13., 19., 24., 30.
September: 4., 9., 14., 19., 24., 29.
In Athens, we are present in the official camp Skaramagas, a 40-minute drive from the city centre. There are around 2500 people living in the Skaramagas camp, and A Drop in the Ocean is here in charge of several activities from Mondays to Saturdays. Furthermore, we run the Drop-in Centre in the centre of Athens.
The Drop-in Centre is available for asylum seekers who have been given relocation to Norway, and that are interested in getting a taste of the Norwegian language and culture. The Government has agreed to welcome around 750 asylum seekers that will have their asylum applications processed in Norway and are currently located in Greece and Italy.
After the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has selected who is eligible for relocation, the asylum seekers will have to wait in Athens for a few months before they can travel to Norway. During this period, the Drop-in Centre offers pre-integration activities. The Centre is organised like a language café, where Norwegian volunteers from A Drop in the Ocean can give the asylum seekers a preview of what they can expect in Norway.
Read more about the Drop-in Centre here
Mother and Baby Space
This place is established to give mothers a private and intimate time with their babies. Here, they can take care of their children, change clothes, get support and interact with other mothers. No men are allowed inside.
Teenage and Woman’s Space
This place is created to organise different activities for young girls and teenagers, such as make up lessons, art and craft hobbies and theme nights. No men are allowed inside.
The warehouse is based at Egaleo (20 min from Skaramangas Camp) and is where we receive the donations. Here they are organised and categorised before the further distribution at the camp. In addition, the warehouse is also used to construct different materials and objects needed in the camp, like for example shelves and tables.
This newly built community centre is designed to benefit the resident community and is used for different activities according to their own wishes.
The community centre has 3 rooms with different purposes, including activities such as sewing (sewing machines are provided), English lessons for adults, yoga lessons and dancing lessons for young girls. We also provide educational games for young adults and kids, which is called Play for Peace. More activities to be announced soon!
Skaramangas camp has a football and basketball court which enables us to perform several sports activities with the kids.
Clothes Exchange (every Mondays)
We want the activities that A Drop in the Ocean performs to be sustainable for a long period of time. This is why we created a clothing exchange system instead of just handing out the clothes. By this, we created a space were residents can bring 10 items of clothes that they may exchange for 10 new items. All the clothes we receive are being washed and put back into the exchange system. It is particularly important to change summer clothes for winter clothes and viceversa.
IMPORTANT! To be able to volunteer with us in Athens you must be able to work for a minimum of 10 days. Introduction and training will take place every week on Mondays and Thursdays. You can not attend the work in camp if you have not gone through this introduction. We recommend that you arrive to the area the evening before the introduction. Volunteers will have Sundays off work.
In Northern Greece we work in the military run refugee camp Nea Kavala, situated about an hour from Thessaloniki. The camp has more than 500 residents. We have the responsibility for distributing of clothes and other necessities, and do this from our market, which works like a shop. Every Wednesday and Sunday we pack vegetables that are handed out to each family in the camp.
Warehouse management and logistics are important parts of a volunteer`s work. A good preparation is necessary to assure a fair and satisfactory distribution. We have our own warehouse where we stock, sort and pack the different goods.
The volunteers normally stay in the villages Polykastro, Axioupoli and Gorgopi which are located a 10 minutes` drive from the camp
IMPORTANT! To be able to volunteer with us in Northern Greece you must be able to work for minimum 10 days. Introduction and training will take place every week on Thursdays and Sundays. You can not attend the work in camp if you have not gone through this introduction. We recommend that you arrive the area the evening before the introduction. In Nea Kavala volunteers will have Saturdays off.
We need minimum two weeks notice from volunteers to Northern Greece, in order to have them registered in camp before their arrival.