In Mytilini, capital of the island our Welcome Office assists with bureaucratic steps into the Greek society (how to get a tax number, social insurance and unemployment card). Further we have an open consultation space and through networking with other actors we try to find solution for every individual – where to find a lawyer, how to get into public schools, how to rent a flat, how to find a job etc. With our Welcome Office we wish to be a central point for refugees and locals to connect and support each other with dignity and respect. We provide:
- Low level – easy access support for refugees – daily open office(mondays to fridays)
- Support for integration (assist with getting a tax number, social insurance number, unemployment card etc), copies of documents, filling in forms – all the bureaucratic paperwork besides the asylum case
- Assisting with writing CVs
- Assisting with finding an apartment
- Supporting with specific needs of the beneficiaries ( e.g. school enrolment of children or finding a football club to play etc.)
- Encouraging setting up ideas of the community within the space e.g. starting a workshop – Greek language club
- Provide a safe space in the city center for creative use in the afternoons
Housing and family support
We provide housing vulnerable families. Currently we are able to offer 8 appartments to refugee families with more than 3 children or/and medical cases that needed to move out of the camp immediatly. The living conditions there are still not suitable for children, especially the small ones. For more information please contact us. Our support involves as well to pay for bustickets for mobility and organizing food provisions currently managed through other organisations. We have a social worker that tries to stay as much as she can in touch with the families.
Most of our families have been here longer than 6 months. Especially pregnant women and new born children are being prioritized to enter our houses. Our waiting list is continiously growing. Unfortunatly there is no space for everyone. We demand the EU to provide proper shelters for refugees, camps are not the solution.
Advocacy and Partners
Especially within the new changes and the ongoing trend of a “Fortress Europe” that doesn’t respect the human rights. We need to keep informing what is happening at the borders. Transparency and education – facts and stories of migrants and refugees will show that we need to build bridges instead of walls.
- We report about the things we see, via mail or via phone but also in person, we make “tours” for visitors in Lesbos that want to learn about the situation of refugees, locals and the many projects
- We are available for researchers, journalists, politicians, supporters and all kind of visitors
- We provide other initiatives and projects with support in Greek burocracy, finding local solutions, connecting to local networks etc.
- We try to negiotiate with authorities or other actors if we find a problem
- We refer cases to other actors in and outside Greece to try to find solutions
- We currently support several self organized smaller iniatives, such as a women collective, a free radio station, several independet actors that support refugees on the island with our infrastructure. We would like to focus more on including refugees into the decision making of the humanitarian sector and give as much voice to the ones that are refugees themselves rather than to organisation just working “for them”.