Pounds for Pants

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Pounds for pants!  Our popular fundraiser is back, this time its for the kids.  In collaboration with our partner The Unmentionables, we are looking to fund 1000 pairs of underwear for refugee children on Chios.

Text PANT17 £5 to 70070 to donate £5, or text PANT17 £10 to 70070 to donate £10-it couldn’t be easier!

Or visit our campaign page https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/asn-teamuk/poundsforpants

The Greek Island Hotspots

5 eastern Aegean Greek Islands have been on the frontline of the refugee crisis since it began.  These islands form part of the Dodecanese (12 Islands) group of islands that string down the Turkish coastline.

Last year, hotspot camps were constructed on these islands as part of the infrastructure to go inline with the EU/Turkey agreement. These camps were designed with short term stays in mind.

However for most, these have become long term residences. As the number of arrivals has hugely increased over the last few months, the hotspot facilities have come under massive strain and overcrowding as people are unable to move on.

As conditions continue to deteriorate, and people are more and more crowded, inevitable issues are ensuing. The image attached illustrates just how serious the overcrowding is.

We remain committed to helping provide aid where we can, however as with many other organisations involved in the crisis, getting interest and support from donors is becoming harder and harder due to the lack of media interest and seemingly normalisation of the crisis.

Please help us spread the word about the reality of the suffering playing out on land just a few hours flight away.

100 meals

oh3We were pleased to recently fund this mammoth shop, which will provide enough food for about 100 meals cooked by residents of the Orange House in Athens as well as basic supplies for the 20 residents and many visitors for about 3 weeks.

Thank you for making a difference.

 
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What’s not in our news

Off our media is the fact that the Eastern Aegean Greek islands have seen a significant rise in the number of people escaping conflict, arriving on their shores from Turkey over the last few months.  The islands hotspots were already at full capacity if not significantly over, and the rise in arrivals is putting immense strain on the system.

Being in the loop of what’s going on, means that everyday we are seeing images and reading about many people living in dire conditions, completely unacceptable in this day and age.

Its estimated that just this month- Lesbos alone has seen over 1200 arrivals.  Samos hotspot is over capacity and as a result it has hundreds of refugees sheltered in pop up tents in the forest around the hotspot.  Chios sees its hotspot population at over almost twice its capacity.  Meanwhile in Leros, the hotspot is full and tents are going up over the next few days to cope with new arrivals, and Kos remains overcrowded.  It’s estimated a total of over 2000 people arrived in the 1st couple of weeks of this month. Conditions need to be seen to be believed. Its absolutely outrageous that lessons were not learnt in the lack of preparation for the last 2 winters, and we very much fear for this coming winter.  There are almost 14,000 currently held on the islands.

The situation is so tragic that we have joined in solidarity signing a collective statement “Open The Islands” alongside over 100 other organisations active in Greece supporting refugees, which calls for urgent action to be taken to alleviate the situation to prevent more refugees dying un-necessarily in the oncoming winter https://opentheislands.wordpress.com

We desperately want to help more people trapped in these abysmal conditions, and help provide basic needs, but we are restricted at the moment due to depleting funds.  Please help us if you can, don’t forget you can gift aid your donation if you’re a UK tax payer making it go even further.  We are also listed in Just Giving, so you can select us for your fundraising event.  Please help
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Here’s a picture of another happy customer, and an example of what our donors have achieved- you might recall that thanks to your support we recently bought 10 buggies for the anticipated new arrivals of children in Leros.

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Update from The Khora

It was great to meet with the team at The Khora in Athens in September, during which time we discussed the projects we were supporting there.

Info Map- The team had taken a short period of time out from printing the info maps as they wanted to take time to ensure that all the information about the various services on the maps was current and correct.  These have all been updated now, and they plan to send PDF copies to the islands, as well as being available in the city, as may people on the islands have limited resources, and are not aware of what it readily available to them.  They plan to link up with other information based organisations so maps can be consolidated and information co-ordinated.  Providing information like this is vital for those trying to find support in a foreign city.

Urban Farming Project- Well the following pictures speak for themselves!  The space has been reorganized, and new containers built which has allowed the team to grow more and plan ahead for the next growing season.  The space has been secured with a view to using it to involve everyone in the centre in the gardening and create a space for workshops and activities.  Tomatoes, aubergines and peppers were among the fruits and vegetables harvested in September, and these along with the herbs grown have been used in the kitchen!

Thank you for your ongoing support which has made all of this possible.

Update and reflections on our hygiene pack project in Leros

Working with Echo100plus, we have funded the very successful hygiene kit program in Leros for the past year. A tailor made pack of hygiene items (toothpaste, washing powder, shampoo, sanitary items etc) is given to each family in Villa Artemis and Pikpa every fortnight.
It was great to spend some time with the team at Echo100Plus and be a part of this in Leros earlier in September. It was busy in Echos Hub centre when Matt was sorting out the items and packing the bags, labelling each with the family name. 
Then it was all hands on deck to load the van to drive over to Pikpa. As we got out the van at Pikpa, you could hear the excitement build from the children as they were aware something was happening. 


The hallway became a bustling hive of activity. Many of the residents have been at the centre long term so are accustomed to the routine of life there. Rooms are numbered and we delivered some bags to the rooms of people who were not in the hallway. 
The look of gratefulness in the eyes of the recipients was enough and everyone who received a pack expressed their gratitude.
As Pikpa houses the vulnerable, the centre has taken on a number of families from nearby islands which lack the infrastructure to accommodate them. This coupled with the recent rise in numbers of new arrivals to the eastern Aegean islands means that Pikpas headcount will increase which will in turn increase our cost on this project.
The monthly cost for a family of 4 is around £15. 
Would you like to sponsor a family? You can sign up easily and securely with charity checkout or just giving.

https://asnteamuk.charitycheckout.co.uk/

https://www.justgiving.com/asn-teamuk

You can also check out how to apply to volunteer with our partner Echo100plus https://asnteamuk.org/volunteer/

From Pikpa, Leros

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Sunday breakfast in Pikpa

Last week in Leros, we spent some time in Pikpa.  This building was restored solely on donations and was opened in the Spring last year by Leros Solidarity Network with the help of their supporters.  It continues to provide refuge for the most vulnerable refugees on Leros.  It currently has around 100 residents- the elderly, unaccompanied children, and families.

As you walk around the building, you can hear the echos and shouts of the childrens laughter, its a really special place.  The military have taken over control of the supply of meals, and breakfast normally consists of little more than a slice of bread.  Each Sunday, the LSN team with the help of their supporters, provide a tasty breakfast full of treats.

You can feel the excitement build in the atmosphere as the team of volunteers prepare the table ready for distribution.  A banana, some sweet cereal with milk, a carton of fruit juice, and a chocolate croissant.  The kids bustle to be front of the queue, and cheekily tell you there are more people in their family than there are to try to trick you into giving extra!  However many of these people have been stranded in Leros for some time, and the long term LSN volunteers have built up relationships with the families living there, so they are accustomed to the cheeky ones!  The older residents wait patiently in line for their turn.

Thanks to your support, we were pleased to be able to help, and purchase the breakfasts for the 2 Sundays we were there as well as a few extra supplies.p2

Ive heard so much about the deep psychological issues that some of the refugees have been suffering from since the EU/Turkey deal, and being stranded on the island, but to see it for myself was another thing.  It broke my heart trying to talk to people who have lost all sense of hope and ambition in their lives.

Arrivals into the eastern Aegean islands have vastly increased over the last couple of months, and many of the nearby islands lack the infrastructure that Leros has to accommodate these people.  While we were there, we heard of a large number of children and their families being moved to Pikpa on Leros from nearby islands.  There was some concern about the numbers, so thanks to your support- we were able to help and purchased 10 buggies in preparation for their arrival and for use in Pikpa and the islands hotspot.

We also heard that the hotspot on Leros had reached capacity (800) and rumours of tents being put up to accommodate extra numbers.  This is concerning as many of the large aid organisations have left the island.  Whilst this number may seem small, the number of refugees on Leros is about 10% of the islands total population.

Our close relationships with the teams on Leros with LSN and ECHO100Plus continues, and we will write about our work and time with ECHO100Plus next week.

There are still so many needs and people needing help, and we are committed to reaching as many as we can.  We need your help to continue to do this.  We have set up several ways that you can donate to help refugees in Greece to make it as easy for you as possible.  If you can spare a little, please help. https://asnteamuk.org/fundraising/

 

Reflections on Athens part 2

7th September 2017


I was too tired to write yesterday when I got home. There is just so much to do for the refugees here and never enough time. It’s clear that there is a lack of funds and volunteers to help as the needs are so great. Many organisations are just getting by week by week, but they make it work with what they have. My hat goes off to the volunteers I have met, who literally work around the clock to try and help in the desperate situation. One of those is Kerrie from Hope Cafe which is one of the projects we are supporting. They were desperate for food supplies and thanks to people’s generosity- our charity was able to fund this shop. We discussed a project that I hope our charity will be able to support which will provide a pack of basic essentials for new born babies and their mothers. I also met with a guy heading a group supporting LGBT refugees. This vulnerable group of people need extra support due to their situation as they see discrimination and difficulties on many levels. I’m hoping that our charity will be able to support their outreach work. It’s amazing to see the small difference we are able to make, and how grateful those in receipt of it are. I’m off to Leros now- the tiny island which sunk under the crisis in 2015 and continues to struggle with it. Arrivals of new refugees have increased since the beginning of August. The hotspot detention camp where they are transferred to is full. I’m looking forward to seeing how we can help more here. But we need your donations to continue to do so. If you can help a little, please check out our fundraising page to find out how.

https://asnteamuk.org/fundraising/