The refugee population on Samos has dropped a lot since we started our work there in May 2019. Back then the previous Vathy camp had around 7000 residents, and the needs were enormous. We contributed through our activities at the Baobab Center, and later, during autumn 2020 we took over the distribution of Non Food Items for the camp residents. Through our emergency warehouse we cooperated with several organisations to provide emergency supplies when needed. After the opening of the new high surveillance camp in Zervou last autumn, access to the people we wanted to reach became harder. The camps remote location and the strict entry/exit policies, generally meant that all NGOs, us included, faced increased difficulties in reaching the population with our support. And they also struggled to reach our services, even though we set up distributions in the MSF premises right outside the camp.
Leaving Samos gives us the possibility to scale up in other areas of Greece still facing huge needs. While our activities in Nea Kavala remain our largest single operation and our team in Bosnia Herzegovina is increasingly active across multiple locations, the evolving situation in Athens also called for an upscaling of our work in the capital, with the very recent opening of our educational space, Stagona Centre.
At the same time we are upscaling our laundry project in Mavrovouni camp (Kara Tepe), Lesvos, where we are now the main provider of this hygiene service, taking over the facility from our partners. The Lava Project. This means that the residents in the camp can have their clothes washed more often.
The past weeks also required increased humanitarian intervention to support the millions of people fleeing the invasion of Ukraine. We are currently supporting an average of 1000 persons daily in the huge free shop in Krakow. Read about the program here.
While deciding to close down our humanitarian aid program in Samos, we made sure not to leave the needs for the 381 residents still living in the camp unmet.
So our Drop Shop is repurposed as a warehouse and storage space, and it`s functions will continue just a few meters down the road, inside Samos Volunteers’ community space, Alpha Centre.
We would like to thank our longtime partners Samos Volunteers for a good handover process and for stepping in and taking over the referrals and distribution of non-food items. We are happy to have trusted partners to continue the work.
Samos is and has been a very special place and we have truly appreciated the local community and the amazing NGO network with which we have collaborated so strongly and efficiently for such a long time. To all of our humanitarian friends, we say a huge THANK YOU and goodbye 💧💙