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.
what have we been up to: winter 2017
- Language classes in English, German, French and Greek, for a range of abilities. Also created new basic English classes specifically to help French and Somali speakers.
- Opened a class for 13 and 14 year-olds, named 'The Dreamers' class. It includes basketball, sex-ed, cooking, Greek, English, social geography, and mathematics.
- Worked with Metadrasi to provide English classes for 15-17 year-olds.
- Organised several mass winter clothing and blanket distributions for the camp and shelters.
- Launched a new computer class with eight donated laptops, to teach essential computer skills.
- Renovated the kitchen in Alpha for cooking activities with the women and the unaccompanied minors.
- Grew our Garden of Friendship into a fruitful garden that provided the food to be cooked in our new kitchen.
- Provided CV support in the Alpha Centre and have launched a CV class to provide support to people applying for jobs.
- Collaborated with many different groups that come to the island; clowns, dentists, lawyers, to name a few.
- Launched a breakdancing class in our beautifully renovated basement.
- Started relaxation classes to add to our list of physical psychosocial activities.
- Expanded women-only time to every weekday afternoon and Saturdays.