We have been working closely with the Leros Solidarity Network (LSN) since September 2015. This organisation pioneered the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis when it began on the island. Pikpa is a disused hospital block and was until Spring 2016 unoccupied and run down. The pioneers of LSN, Matina and her husband Spiros campaigned long and hard and won the right to allow LSN to convert this impressive building into a refugee centre. Through the efforts of Matina and Spiros and the international friends of LSN, the dream became a reality.
The building was rapidly renovated and converted solely by donations into a reception centre that since Spring 2016 has been able to offer safe, warm and dry accommodation for vulnerable families, the elderly, handicapped, unaccompanied minors and pregnant women.
Greek medical charities Praksis and WAHA have operated within Pikpa. It offers 120 or so beds in heated rooms, and has a fully equipped kitchen, showers, utility room and childrens playroom.
There are plans to increase capacity to 200 beds, and the building is now recognised as an official refugee reception centre uniquely run by First Reception in collaboration with LSN and ECHO100Plus volunteers.
The military now provide hot meals to the residents who prepare their own salads to accompany meals in the fully equipped kitchen. In 2016 we contributed to essential repairs needed on the ceiling upstairs as well as continuing to support breakfast meals, supplementary food and other items so desperately needed.