Samos Volunteers is a grassroots movement of volunteers who initially came together in the autumn of 2015 in response to the escalating refugee crisis. Starting out as simply individuals supporting local residents who were providing emergency assistance to refugees arriving by boat, Samos Volunteers became an established, hard-working team.
Samos Volunteers are here to provide essential services and are determined to remain in Samos until refugees no longer need our support. Our daily presence in the camp has allowed us to build relationships with the now largely static population of refugees on Samos. Upon arrival, they must settle into the semi-closed camp to await the long-drawn out asylum procedure: this can take months, and in some cases, years. Recently, we came out of a transitional period during which we moved our activities from the daily distribution of non-food items, to informal educational activities and psycho-social support. We feel that the clothing and hygiene needs of those residing in the camp can be covered by the government organisations mandated to provide this support, and so we feel we can have a bigger impact on our beneficiaries through means of education, activities, and interesting projects and courses.
a sample of What We've Achieved so far in 2017...
- Expanded our language classes, and are now teaching lessons in English, German, French and Greek, for a range of abilities.
- Created a comprehensive English as Foreign Language (EFL) curriculum that allows us to teach English to all learners regardless of their age, mother tongue or cultural background.
- Have taken our English language curriculum to all but one shelter on the island.
- Hosted 3 legal aid seminars in collaboration with Advocates Abroad to prepare asylum-seekers for their interviews.
- Set up a mobile library in the camp, with books in Arabic, Farsi, English, Urdu, Kurdish and French.
- Brought our English language curriculum, photography course and art classes to an unaccompanied minors shelter.
- Started an art and crafts class, in which many brilliant artists from the camp attend.
- Purchased 5 guitars and other musical instruments, so a musician from the camp can give music lessons.
- Initiated women's hiking and men's fitness sessions for camp inhabitants to keep people active.