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‘We rise by lifting others’ – R. Ingersoll
The daily struggles of people living in refugee camps in Greece is beyond the imagination of most people. Here, the NGO Team at Madrid For Refugees tells you how you can play your part to help.
Dignity, respect, comfort. Three things that are so often no longer available to people who find themselves living in refugee camps. Formed as part of the international response to the refugee crisis, Madrid For Refugees is working to restore these basic entitlements and remove the obstacles that refugees face every day in their new surroundings. Alongside the work we are doing in Madrid, MFR is now collaborating with those NGOs who are making a huge difference on the ground in Greek refugee camps.
During June and July, MFR is teaming up with Lighthouse Relief and Dirty Girls of Lesvos Island to achieve two distinct goals, and we urgently need your support to raise funds for these worthy causes. DONATE now!
Currently, thousands of refugees are stranded in around 30 different camps scattered around mainland Greece. Most had hoped to continue their journeys to northern Europe to rejoin family there, but closed borders and slow European bureaucracy have halted them. Many families are now homeless and have limited resources, trying to survive in a foreign country struggling with its own economic setbacks. As reality is setting in to the refugees that most may never make it to northern European countries, feelings of frustration and despair are growing.
Lighthouse Relief works in the Katsikas and Ritsona camps in mainland Greece, as well as on the Greek island of Lesvos. They provide relief to refugees with a special focus on vulnerable populations, such as children, women, and the elderly. In Katsikas and Ritsona, Lighthouse has constructed community spaces for women and children, organises English classes, and supports a thriving football league.
In Lesvos, they continue to provide emergency relief to the few refugees still arriving and, through ECO Relief clean-up project, are helping to restore the natural environment of the island. Madrid For Refugees will be supporting Lighthouse’s efforts to protect vulnerable groups of refugees and construct a sense of community spirit in camps across Greece.
‘What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.’ – Albert Pike
The number of refugees without so much as a sleeping bag is more common than is imaginable. Inadequate housing and sanitary conditions typical of outdoor spaces, like insects and dust storms, make sleeping even more challenging for the many living in tents. Working around the clock to collect discarded items from beaches and camps in order to sort, clean and redistribute these items, Dirty Girls has not only changed the way of thinking about old clothes, shoes and blankets, but they have prevented nearly 150 tons of material from ending up in landfill.
Using commercial laundry facilities with hospital cleaning standards, it costs Dirty Girls volunteers and laundry employees €3 per blanket from pick-up to redistribution. With our project goal of €1,000, Madrid For Refugees will enable Dirty Girls to provide clean blankets to the more than 300 residents of Nireas Camp, half of whom are children. The second phase of our project will provide an additional €1,000 of support, saving over 1,005 kilos from landfill and providing clean blankets to over 700 refugees in Greece.
These projects are distinct but carry equal importance in the daily lives of camp residents as they await the next steps on their journey. MFR is committed to fundraising €2,000 for each one. This first phase of fundraising goes from now to July, with a €1,000 minimum designated to each, and a second phase in September when we will aim to raise the remaining €2,000 to complete these projects.
Help us make these projects happen and improve the lives of thousands of refugees in need!
Are you interested in making a difference by creating your own fundraising event to raise money for these good causes? For more information on how to collaborate, contact Madrid For Refugees.