#Love4Lesvos: Together we will make a difference
The driving force behind my return trip to Lesvos was to bring attention back to the refugees who are out of sight and out of mind. Today i’m really proud to share that i’ve been asked to join forces with the collective #Love4Lesvos.
#LOVE4LESVOS is the collaborative effort of some 30 groups to supply the missing pieces of the aid puzzle – food, clothes, transport and warehouse costs – to the increasing numbers of refugees stuck on Lesvos.
Victims of the refugee crisis – children, women and men – are stuck in dire conditions in refugee camps for months on end with minimum provisions. They truly need our help.
Whilst families suffer in only a summer tent for shelter, and essential provisions like food, water and clothes are routinely unavailable to them. Just outside these camps are a number of fantastic charitable volunteer support teams who do their best, every single day, to fulfill their basic human needs, whilst also offering hope and a little comfort during the darkest of times. Together we must help these volunteers keep the doors open on their distribution centres, and have enough aid to give to those in need. What better way to show our #LOVE4LESVOS. More than 30 groups working together and YOU!
I know from experience that when grass roots groups work together they can really have a much bigger impact. In 2015 it was the same, groups of people were plugging the gap. But in 2015 the situation was very different…
Lesvos in 2015
In 2015 the infrastructure on Lesvos was struggling to cope with the volume of people arriving day after day. By the time I arrived in December 2015 grass roots groups were starting to bring some order to the island.
Traditional NGOs were working bigger projects for example, Save the Children were providing a bus from the North to the South. It wasn’t perfect but it was getting better…and there was hope.
Lesvos for many meant they had made it. They had survived the boat journey and they were on European soil. Moria was one of many check points that would see them inch closer to Germany and a new life.
On the 9th March 2016 everything changed. The border between Greece and Macedonia closed and remains closed. Lesvos went from being a place of hope and new beginnings, to a place of fear and uncertainty. Time on Lesvos for refugees is a sentence with no clear end date.
For refugees who made that journey too late, are stuck. They can’t move forward they can’t go back. They can’t work, they can’t earn money, they can’t create a home or send their children to school. The women can’t go to the toilet in the night, alone. They don’t have easy access to somewhere to wash, clean their clothes and cook for their family.
They have limited access to the every day items we take for granted. Relying on government handouts and charity.
How can we make it better?
You can make it better by supporting grass roots programmes who are making strategic, direct and decisive action. These groups are agile and able to focus on the immediate need. They can pivot when the situation changes.
The power comes from groups working together in Lesvos, but the secret sauce is the support they recieve from us at home. There are groups collecting for, sorting and packing up regular containers that only ship useful items. There are individuals collecting bras, mens shoes, or socks.
The aim of aligning and working together is to get more attention, more support and to take some of the pressure off the teams locally so they can focus on the job in hand. You can read more about Humans4Humanity on a previous blog post.
Stay engaged, keep up to date and support us where you can:
You can follow #love4lesvos on twitter and through Donate4Refugees you can keep up to date on how the campaign is going.
Share their content. Think about running your own charity drive, what is stopping you collecting items and sending them? If you’d like to volunteer with a group in the UK or even travel to Lesvos – DO IT!! It is super simple and i’d be happy to help connect you with the right people.