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