Dahlia Foundation on the ground
We have been actively working in Greece since February 2016, see below some of the things we get involved in.
We provide accommodation to families
We believe that no family fleeing war should sleep on the streets.
We fund a number of families to live in apartments whilst they are awaiting the processing of their Asylum application.
We could not have achieve this with out your donations and support from other organisations such as the wonderful team at Insaaf.
There are still too many vulnerable young babies and children living on the streets and in squats, we continue to focus on accommodation to take them off the streets and into the safety of an apartment.
We deliver aid
We work actively to ensure the refugees in camps have the basics for dignity and survival.
We spend our time in Lesvos delivering clothing, sleeping bags, tents and baby equipments to the camps,
Making sure the right aid is in the right place is an art and we support the warehouses by delivering the aid to where it is needed,
This is a very physical task starting from 9am and finishing around 10pm, it involves a lot of lifting, sorting and organising and multiple trips to the camps around the Island of Lesvos,
We make children, children again
With the funds we raise, we visit the camps providing Bubbles, Balloons, Colouring Books, Toys and Sweets.
We want Children to become Children again.
Many of these Children have experienced first hand the traumas of war, including the loss of a parent or sibling, witness people drowning in the sea, experience of having their neighbourhood or school bombed whilst they were in it and much more.
Our aim is to provide a moment of relief through play and providing them with some of the things they left behind.
Camp life is not fun for for any of the children and they can be often found playing in the dirt with sticks.
We cook for the camps
It was our privilege to assist Aaman Foundation and their amazing work, through the cooking and distribution of meals to the residents of Moria camp.
Camp food is often the same everyday, serving just rice and potatoes.
The Greek Government budget of £5 a day per refugee, often falls short of the minimum food safety standard as they outsource the cooking to catering companies. The food often arrives mouldy or even worse, infected with maggots!
There is very little nutrition in plain potatoes and rice, so the aim was to provide much needed food and nutrition to those in the camps.
Each day we would distribute a main meal, with a boiled egg, orange, bread and bottle of water.
Cooking Dhal for 500 is not easy in 40 degree heat !!
We prepare refugees for their onward Journey
When a refugee is allowed to travel from the Greek Islands to Athens for their Asylum interview they are not provided accommodation.
Families with young children and babies are often seen sleeping on the streets until they are lucky enough to have a volunteer find them and search for accommodation in a camp.
Therefore it is essential to equip the refugees for their onward journey.
This involves greeting them at the ports and ensuring they have warm clothing, water and food for the 11 hour journey by boat to Athens and provide tents and sleeping bags for their life on the streets.
We provide support on the coasts
When we work on the Islands, we work on the coast every night to receive the boats.
This is a task which requires patience, ability to be calm under pressure and think on your feet.
It is a very physical job, pulling men, women, children and babies out of boats, providing warm clothes and ensuring those that require medical attention receive it quickly.
It is one of the hardest jobs we get involved in on an emotional and physical level. It happens in all weather and conditions can be very harsh. A shift on the coast sees you work from 10pm until 7am.
We are the first people to greet them and the ones they look to for hope.
We buy genuine life vests
When we started working on the coasts, we noticed that the life vests the refugees were arriving in, were substandard, we did not imagine on opening them, they would turn out to be fake !!
Knowing you are rescuing, persons with disabilities, babies and young children amongst non swimming adults, if their boats sank, they would not stand a chance in fake life vests.
So we worked with CK Team Refugees providing funds for them to buy and distribute genuine life vests.
We try and make dreams come true...
Sometimes the smallest gestures make a difference, to the mental health of a refugee. From providing the correct size shoe or a rucksack, providing eyeglasses, or feminine products, a toy car or a doll for a little ones Birthday.
We do the little touches to try to create a moment of happiness.
Celebrating life when they have seen much suffering is essential to the mental health of those we meet.