hope to HOPE

f1HOPE is the name of a football team in Athens made up entirely of refugees. They have been training hard as they aspire to enter the Greek league. 

We recently met with one of the players who was a professional football player in Afghanistan, an inspiring young man who spends much of his spare time training the kids in football in the camp he is currently living in just outside the city. 

When he was telling us that the HOPE team didn’t have any winter training gear, we thought we might be able to help, and were able to purchase the team some football kit.

 HOPE played their first game in their new kit yesterday, and won 2-0! What a great result. Your donations meant this was able to happen and gave hope to HOPE! f2

 Please consider making a donation to help us make a difference to more peoples lives.   

 There is more information about the other ways you can donate and get involved on our website.

Thank you for your continued support and for helping us help refugees in Greece.

Anette a Danish journalist writes from Chios

Anette, a Danish journalist has spent a lot of time over the last couple of years working with refugees in Greece and is currently in Chios from where she writes;

Chios, where I have spent the last week, is one of the EU’s hotspots. There are several of these hotspots on the Greek Islands, Lesvos, Samos and Leros are others. All together more than 9000 refugees and migrants are now living in these overcrowded camps on the Greek islands, without the possibility to get away. Every day new boats arrive with even more people. On Chios there have been three boats the last week with up to 50 people in each.

People living in the hotspots will soon have been here up to a year, living with no hope, bored, nothing to do, with no future. Without a life.

A hopeless life like this puts its marks on people. Last week four people committed suicide, two succeeded.

There are two camps on Chios, one with a barbed wire around – and where people like me cannot get in.  The other camp is half an hours walk from where I stay (the pictures are from there).  People are living in festival tents, covered with plastic for the cold winter. Families in containers.

The only good thing about this camp is the food. It is made by a Greek.

Because of the miserable life there is a lot of drinking and fighting – with knives. There is prostitution, women and children are raped, and volunteers have been advised not to go inside the camp on their own. The camp is filled with rats, and the rats even get into the containers.

Imagine a mother not being able to protect your child from rat bites during the night, one volunteer said to me. She will now try to do something about the problem with the rats, while she is here.

All refugees and migrants just want to get away from Chios, but EU does not want to empty the islands. They are afraid that people will move further up north.

Some try to hide themselves on the ferry for Athens.  Others try another way.  Today I read a story about a Syrian and an Egyptian man, who had stolen a boat and wanted to go back to Turkey, but were discovered. They are now in prison here in Chios.

Today I was thinking that when you treat people worse than animals there is the danger that they might become like animals.

CESRT working in Chios

CESRT (Chios Eastern Shore Response Team) is a volunteer group responding to the Global Refugee Crisis, working around the clock in Chios, Greece to provide refugees – men, csertwomen, and children with critical help and services.  Collaborating with the Hellenic Coast Guard to help refugees arriving by boat with medical attention, dry clothes, food and other services, CESRT works in coordination with other relief groups including Zaporeak Proiektua to provide daily nutritious meals and tea to the c4approximately 1,200 displaced people living in the Souda refugee camp as well as refugees from the Vial camp on the island. CESRT also provides clothing and non-food items on a continual basis to refugees and the needy on Chios. c2

On a daily basis CESRT volunteers also provide numerous critical services to refugees including being the first to assist with boat landings, food preparation, volunteering at the two centres, warehouse organisation and distribution, transportation and other important services.

Two centres recently opened: the Women’s Centre, where women can enjoy some quiet time, as well as learning languages or other useful skills, and the Children’s Centre where families can come to care for their children in a safe, nurturing environment.

CESRT also provides daily English language classes to refugees to assist them with integrating into new environments. c1

The team at CESRT are always looking for volunteers, and you can find out how to contact them by visiting the volunteer page on our website https://asnteamuk.org/volunteer/

 

Photo credits to http://www.facebook.com/huangmenders

 

 

You’re making a difference

When we say that your donations are making a difference – we’re not kidding!  But we need your continued support to enable us to sustain our work.

Remember our response to the cold snap in Greece?  We sponsored a young, vulnerable Syrian family from a cold, uncomfortable camp in northern Greece into safe, warm private accommodation in Athens.  We have since heard from the family who have now settled into their new home and they are so grateful for your support and wish to send their salam (peace) and thanks to you.

We would also like to help a very young Afghani toddler who is severely disabled on the Greek mainland, by purchasing him a bespoke, special chair that will support him correctly.  With the right support and therapy, there is hope that this beautiful and inspiring child will one day be able to walk.  We are expecting the chair to cost in the region of 600 Euros.

We also continue to purchase the items for the hygiene kits that are distributed to the families and individuals in the Pikpa shelter in Leros.

Please continue to support us by making a donation.  You can also sign up to monthly direct debit contributions securely via the charity checkout link below.  Regular contributions via direct debit are extremely helpful as they help us to plan and budget for the projects we support.  However you can help, even if its a one off donation of a few pounds, it will make a difference, and if you’re a UK tax payer – you can make your donation go even further by gift aiding your donation.

Don’t forget that the projects and initiatives we support are all voluntary run which means your donation has maximum positive impact.  Thank you.