LaunchGood
Organized by Lena Azzouz

EMERGENCY RELIEF FOR REFUGEES IN LESVOS, GREECE

$20,918

raised of $26,500 USD goal

340 supporters, Project Closed
Closed

Impact: Greece

Registered 501(c)(3)

Verification in progress. Learn More

This campaign will collect all funds raised by April 7, 2020 at 4:00 AM EDT

This is an emergency refugee relief campaign in the Greek Island of Lesvos.


FINDING REFUGE is organizing an emergency relief campaign for refugees in Lesvos. In collaboration with one of our partners in Greece, JAFRA FOUNDATION,  this campaign will distribute urgent cold and flu medicines, feminine hygiene products, sanitary supplies including soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other essential items. We will also be distributing emergency food supplies to areas and families in extreme need, and assemble teams to deal with waste management to improve the sanitary conditions of the island. 

On March 10th, 2020 the first case of coronavirus was reported on the Greek island of Lesvos. It comes just two weeks after Turkey reopened its borders with the European Union (EU), resulting in the highest record of refugee arrivals to Greece since the March 20th, 2016 EU-Turkey Deal.  Lesvos has been one of the main EU reception sites for refugees fleeing war, crisis, and violence from across the Asian and African continents. Today, its most notorious refugee camp, Moria, has over 27,000 refugees living in dire conditions, although it only has capacity for 4,000 people. 

Global organizations have testified that the conditions for refugees in the Greek islands are some of the worst in the world. The infrastructure is dismal: little to no shelter, poor food quality and access, abysmal hygiene and sanitation systems and an ineffective asylum process which has caged refugees in detention centers and slated many more for deportation. 27,000 people are now sharing just 14 bathrooms in Moria camp. Common colds, scabies, lice and respiratory infections are rampant and left untreated. These refugee camps have been likened to Nazi concentration camps. 

With the impending spread of the  contagious coronavirus, the effects will be catastrophic. Dr Hana Pospisilova, a consultant cardiologist who has volunteered in Lesvos states:  “If you read about Spanish flu it was exactly like this that it began to spread, in overcrowded facilities where people had a viral infection that became a bacterial infection that killed them.” Her comments have been affirmed by international agencies including Doctors Without Borders (MSF) who have called for a complete evacuation of the camps.

Refugee communities in Lesvos are from  Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Iran and over sixty other countries. Prior to their arrival to Greece, they survived unimaginable violence in their homelands which forced them to flee and seek refuge in the EU. Further, they have endured the perilous death voyages on land and across the Aegean sea and have been met with attacks on open waters--last week a young Syrian boy died when the boat he was on capsized. Upon arrival to the Greek islands, refugees face attacks by riot police and ultra nationalist, vigilante groups. Most recently, doctors, aid workers, and refugees were attacked by a fascist Greek mob wielding heavy clubs with nails in them. These political tensions have greatly impacted the ability of  humanitarian aid groups to offer services on the Greek Islands.

In light of all that is happening right now in Lesvos, we’re urgently calling for your support! 

Our goal is to raise $26,500, which will allow us to offer aid materials to approximately 3,600 people across three refugee camps in Lesvos. All additional funds will continue to be used for aid and relief services and materials.

While we live in uncertain times and are all facing the impact of the coronavirus, refugees in Lesvos are among the most vulnerable communities in the world right now. Greece has declared a lockdown of camps on the Greek island, prohibiting relief or aid groups from implementing efforts for two weeks. In an effort to curb future outbreaks of viruses, our team is currently preparing to be the first ones on the ground to offer dire aid and relief as soon as the two week lockdown of camps on the island is lifted. Please help us in supporting the rights of refugees to health, safety, and dignity. We urge our community to support our call.

In the absence of a political solution that recognizes the right to freedom, movement, protection, and safety for all displaced peoples, we will continue to face crises such as these. While we are organizing for political change, we believe that we must simultaneously offer services to the people. This is guided by our commitment to sustain and uplift life in a world that systematically erases the humanity of those seen as dispensable. Care must be a central value in our practice of transnational solidarity.

With love, solidarity and commitment to our collective humanity, we thank you for your support.


All contributions will be made to Finding Refuge, a registered 501c3 non-profit organization in the US. For inquiries, please contact us at contact@findingrefugegr.com

Please contact us at the email address specified above if you need proof of  donation for taxation purposes. 

Our Employer Identification Number: 84-2009994 

Finding Refuge’s mission is to alleviate the homelessness of neglected displaced people such as migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Athens, Greece and beyond. We also aim to provide emergency assistance to help support the general needs of those in the community that fall through the cracks. Lastly, we strive to provide financial and operational assistance to refugee-led organizations and initiatives that provide similar services while empowering their own communities through educational and vocational training. We are trying to fill the gap in services left by increased budgetary cuts by the EU and the UNHCR to accommodate these communities. Since its founding in April 2019, Finding Refuge has housed 68 refugees for durations of 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months depending on need. Out of the 68, 31 have been children. We are also providing consistent medical and financial aid to 17 refugees. 

Jafra Foundation for Relief and Youth Development Greece is a group of refugees in their  twenties, who want to empower fellow refugees in Greece to initiate and implement community based programming inside their own camps and accommodation centres in Greece. Their work is driven by  volunteers who work toward enabling local refugee communities’ to achieve their interests, social justice, and to strengthen social solidarity. Their programs include a variety of activities including cultural, womens and youth programs, language certificate programs, first aid and emergency response trainings, relief campaigns and more. 





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    Updates 2

    Lena Azzouz4 years ago

    Support Houseless Refugees in Athens, Greece

    Thank you so much for donating to the Emergency Relief for Refugees in Greece campaign! Finding Refuge is now hosting a Ramadan campaign in which we seek to raise $25,000 to fund our Housing Program and General Needs Fulfillment program for refugees in Athens, Greece. Please consider today to get refugees off of the streets of Athens. After enduring such hardship, oppression, and war in their home countries, these refugees from countries like Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Palestine, etc, should NOT be in the streets in an EU country. We try to fill gaps left by the UNCHR and international NGOs. See the link to our fundraiser. Donate and share today!


    FINDING REFUGE RAMADAN CAMPAIGN

    Lena Azzouz4 years ago

    Execution Strategy Change in Response to COVID-19 Restrictions

    Dear Donors, 


    Thank you so much for your support towards the Emergency Relief in Lesvos, Greece campaign. Your donation and support is invaluable. As an organization based on the values of transparency, Finding Refuge would like to inform you about changes to the campaign’s execution strategy. On March 22nd, a shelter-in-place order was declared in Greece. This has made it impossible for our partners on the ground, who are on the mainland of Athens, to reach the Greek island of Lesvos. This has forced us to re-evaluate how the campaign execution can be modified considering restrictions on travel and lock-downs of camps while staying true to the campaign’s initial call to action. After much deliberation we have decided that part of the relief campaign will be dedicated to providing aid in camps and refugee squatting sites on the mainland of Greece. Given that there have been revelations that many of the new arrivals to the Greek island of Lesvos, post Turkey’s border opening (see link), are being transferred to various camps around the mainland of Greece, we believe that this execution strategy solves the issues around restriction of travel for our partners while still serving the intended community of refugees of the campaign. Our partners on the ground will begin to assemble an emergency stockpile of aid baskets and distribute them to camps and refugee squatting sites depending on the severity of the conditions of the site and accessibility into these spaces. 


    In addition to providing emergency aid on the mainland, we are currently assessing our options to get aid to Lesvos. Thus, in further efforts to remain true to the initial call of the campaign while adapting to the new situation the corona pandemic has caused, we have decided to reserve half of the funds for the campaign to be executed in Lesvos. There is a possibility that Lesvos may not be accessible to our partners on the ground until the shelter-in-place and travel restrictions are lifted. In this event, funds will be put aside until our partners are able to reach the island. We will provide updates once we have confirmed a plan of action. 


    The distributions on mainland Greece will begin in the next week so keep an eye out for updates on our instagram page @finding.refuge.greece As always, please feel free to reach out to us at

    contact@findingrefugegr.com

    with any questions or concerns you may have. Should you feel uncomfortable with this change to the campaign and want a refund of your donation please let us know we will be happy to refund you.

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