BRF is raising the alarm: situation in Moria camp untenable

BBC and the Dutch NOS posted disturbing articles about the poignant situation of refugees in Moria camp on Lesvos. Doctors Without Borders talks about suicide attempts in the camp and there are even children who have lost the will to live.

We can confirm this situation. In our clinic too, parents tell us that their children are doing badly, they are unmanageable and say they want to die. Also distressing are the people who need specific help in a hospital, such as people with cancer or kidney problems, but who do not get the much needed medical help.

Boat Refugee Foundation has been active on Lesvos for 3.5 years and around 2.5 years in camp Moria. We raised the alarm before. And once again, we urgently ask the European government for a constructive solution to the utmost worrying situation of thousands of people. We see the situation worsening every day and we are seriously concerned about the lack of a dignified asylum procedure and access to medical care. This situation is untenable and unworthy of mankind.

Meanwhile, we continue to do what we can within our circle of influence. There are a lot of meetings and consultation with other medical actors on the island. And we continue to help the people in Moria with medical and psychosocial help. Fortunately, it is never hopeless to help a person. We can make the difference for hundreds of people per day!

Maybe the messages worry you and you feel powerless in so much need. There is a way to help. If you want to be involved in our organisation, you can apply as a volunteer or you can financially support our work. And you can help us spread these messages to open the eyes of the world to the inhuman situation on the edge of Europe.

More information about volunteering:
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You can read the article of the NOS here (in Dutch):
You can read the BBC article (in English) here:

Photo by Tessa Kraan

Teaming up

Teaming up with volunteers from BRF and people from Moria

Every week the psychosocial support team has a team meeting, where there is room for discussing the different experiences, views, new ideas and questions from the people from Moria. This time, before starting the meeting, everybody was asked to grab a card with an image on it from the table that signifies this weeks emotions and what you need next week. This way the whole team could share their thoughts and troubles and what the others in the team can do to support each other.

One volunteer picked a card with different rays of colours blending in to one piece of art. The volunteer who choose this card explained to the group: “I like this card, since it shows a blend of colours. This is just like our team: us as BRF volunteers and the volunteers from Moria together. Everybody in this team is passionate and works together to create the best result. Without the collaboration, we could not create this artwork of colours. We all need each other to do this work.

This quote illustrates the vision of the psychosocial support mission of BRF. The mission derived from suggestions and needs of the people of Mora. It is important to think about, develop and do all the lessons and work together with the communities inside Moria. That’s why all activities organised in the camp are carried out by voluntary teachers and translators who live in Moria, and supported by BRF. Together we create beautiful things every day.

Text and photo’s: Roëlle de Bruin-Boonstra (exept the photo of the card)

Would you like to team up with us? Please take a look at our volunteering options.

The hope of learning

I met Ahmed in front of the community centre used by Boat Refugee Foundation in Moria camp. The logo of the foundation is clearly printed on the door of the building. Ahmed stands in front of the building, and plays his guitar. He smiles and waves at me, and doesn’t hesitate to start a conversation. “You new teacher here?” he asks me. I nod. Ahmed is 21 years old now. He likes to come to the BRF community centre, especially because of the English classes. He also participates in guitar lessons, provided by another NGO Connect by music. He tells me he would like to be proficient in playing the guitar and also would like to learn many languages. In his home country Syria he studied hard. But because of the war, all schools and colleges have shut down. Now, four years later, he tries to study and learn as much as possible inside Moria camp. He asks me if we will add French classes to the curriculum. I answer that we’re always trying to improve our classes and that I will pass on his request.
Three boys are listening and looking at us during our conversation. Not because of our little interview, but because of the beautiful guitar Ahmed is holding in his hands. Ahmed allows the children to play a little guitar with him. But first he gently encourages them to form a line in front of him so they can play one by one. The children listen to him and laugh. I ask him if he enjoys playing the guitar and learning new languages. He nods and looks at me. “Maybe I can be the teacher someday.”

Text: Roëlle de Bruin-Boonstra
Photo’s: Kathelijne Reijse-Saillet
These are photo’s from our archive, Ahmed is not in the picture.