Zoom in on ECHO100PLUS

For refugee week this year, we are focusing on the projects we support in turn.

Zoom in on ECHO100PLUS

ECHO100PLUS is an Austrian organisation which responded to the refugee crisis in Greece by setting up in Ritsona and Leros.

Whilst in Ritsona there was a shortage of water in summer 2016, we helped to fund 7500 bottles for distribution by ECHO, but the bulk of our work with them has been in Leros. It was in Leros in 2016 that our incredible relationship was formed with ECHO, and we started to work together to provide tailor made hygiene kits on a regular basis for the residents of PIKPA and Villa Artemis. We funded the supplies and ECHO did the ground work in shopping, packing and distributing.

This project is still running today and has been really successful. ECHO manage a resource centre in Leros called The Hub. This initiative is unique on the island, and provides a number of resources and activities for the refugee community.

ECHO manages a motivated and passionate team of volunteers who work hard to really make a difference. We have supported The Hub by financing an interactive whiteboard as well as more recently contributing towards their sewing project.

The team at ECHO are incredible and we really value our partnership with them.

Zoom in on The Khora

The Khora was a multi storey building in Athens which offered an amazing range of facilities, and support initiatives for refugees in the city to use on a drop in centre style basis. It also offered hundreds of lunches each day to people in need.

The centre was run by a cooperative group of volunteers and established itself as a vital resource for the refugee community.

We sponsored 2 projects at The Khora- the 1st was a rooftop garden project- which allowed produce for the kitchen to be grown on the roof, and the project ran successfully for nearly 2 years.

The 2nd is an information map project. The maps are produced in various relevant languages providing information on vital services that the refugee community have access to, but might not know about. The centrefold of each booklet has a map pinpointing each resource in the city.

Imagine arriving in a foreign city, not speaking the language, with limited resources- these maps have proved hugely beneficial, so much so that they have been available in The Khora centre as well as given out during outreach work.

For various reasons, The Khora have had to move from their current building and are currently in the process of looking for new premises, however recognising the value of the information maps, they want to continue this project even whilst still looking for new premises. We sponsor the resources needed to produce the maps- ie printing and paper.

Thank you for helping us continue to support this vital resource.

Zoom in on The Orange House

Zoom in on The Orange House

The first time we went to The Orange House, we were overwhelmed with the warm, welcoming, friendly atmosphere inside.

The centre is run by the Greek grassroot NGO called Zaatar whom we have developed a fabulous working relationship with. The building is home to up to 25 vulnerable refugee women who are often referred to the centre.

The ethos is that The Orange House will provide temporary shelter to the women whilst they establish and build a new life in Athens, and get into work to become self sufficient.

The centre is all about maintaining the residents dignity, and volunteers are not allowed into the women’s living space on the 1st floor.

The centre also has a common social space which acts as a safe environment for the residents and refugees in the city to share. The centres values on respect and inclusion are always upheld, and must be respected by visitors.

The Orange House now has several classrooms (we recently funded the conversion of a new classroom), and these offer lessons and classes in a variety of topics for the city’s refugee community.

In addition- a shower is on offer for people from the camps and squats to use and we recently funded its much needed renovation. The residents and volunteers also cook a number of lunch meals available for those in need, and we help fund food supplies when we can.

It really is an amazing place, and offers so much. We are really proud to be part of its success.

Zoom in on Leros Solidarity Network

For refugee week this year, we want to focus on some of the projects and organisations we support and work with.

ASN Team UK began as a sister organisation to Leros Solidarity Network. In the height of the crisis in summer 2015, Leros was overlooked by the large aid organisations due to its small size and remote location.

The island was completely overwhelmed by the hundreds upon hundreds of daily arrivals of refugees. Bearing in mind the islands population is only around 8000, it gives you a sense of the enormity of what was happening.

Leros is unlike the other islands which saw and still see refugees arrive directly to their shores. Instead, the Lerian authorities are responsible to collect refugees who had arrived on the small rocky outcrop island called Farmakonisi which only hosts a small military presence for a population.

Leros Solidarity Network pioneered the volunteer movement on Leros, and it was this small group of locals and holiday makers who were paramount in plugging the gaps in care for refugees when the islands authorities ran out of money or were unable to provide adequate resources.

In 2015 with the support of their international friends, LSN acquired the use of a small villa in the grounds of the islands hospital. Villa Artemis was used as a shelter for the most vulnerable cases identified from the makeshift camp in the islands port police yard. It is still used to this day for vulnerable families and single women from the refugee community to live in.

Spring 2016 saw LSN renovate and transform a disused hospital unit into a safe residence for vulnerable refugees, mainly the elderly, families, disabled and unaccompanied minors. Funded solely by donations, PIKPA was born. This was an incredible achievement and continues to operate successfully today.

Leros is home to one of the infamous hotspot refugee camps and the island currently holds around 900 refugees according to recent UNHCR data.

LSN continues to support the refugee community on the island, and in turn- we support LSN as and when we can. We have financially supported them in their work in Villa Artemis, PIKPA, by helping to finance food and more recently baby items.

Visit our website to find out more and donate to help us continue to make a

difference.

It’s Refugee Week

Nearly 3 years ago, we set out to raise some money to help fund food for refugees in Leros, Greece.

You supported us, put your faith in us, donated and helped share our message of solidarity and hope.

We’ve come a long way since then, and have expanded our outreach throughout Greece.

Thanks to you we’re helping even more people-providing dignity, food, education, accommodation, medical supplies, outreach, clothing, hygiene items, baby supplies, amongst other needs.

It’s refugee week, and we want to say THANK YOU for being on the journey with us. SHARE us to help amplify our message, FOLLOW US to keep up to date with what’s going on, DONATE to help us change more lives. Explore our website to find out how you can be part of something amazing.

London College of Communication

Just arrived back home after an amazing day in London at the London College of Communication.

We pitched ASN Team UK to a group of BA students a couple of months back, and they have been working hard to deliver their vision of concepts in marketing, branding, video campaigning etc. which would take ASN Team UK to the next level.

Well the tables were turned today and 5 groups of students pitched their ideas to us.

We were absolutely blown away by their talent, professionalism, passion and visions and hope to work with them all to integrate their ideas into what we do.

Thank you guys for all your hard work, it was truly inspirational and what an amazing experience for us.