The work of the Boat Refugee Foundation changes frequently on Samos. In 2016, the work mainly consisted of taking care of people who just arrived on the island. Today, we focus on medical and psychosocial activities. This means a change from emergency to structural care, within tighter frames and with a higher level of professionalism.
Samos has one refugee camp, the hot-spot, accommodating approximately 1,100 to 1,200 people. After the refugees arrive on the island by boat, they are taken to this refugee camp for registration and to start their asylum application. After registration, some vulnerable refugees are transferred to another location, for example a hotel. Security is tight in the camp, guarded by the army and the police. It is surrounded by a fence, and partly due to the strict security measures, the camp can feel prison-like.
The medical and psychosocial team take daily shifts from 4pm to 9pm. When there are many medical patients, sometimes a shift may run late. We do not have final responsibility for the medical care in the camp, but we are one of the supporting medical teams. The medical cabin and the PSS cabin are located right next to each other, which leads to a strong involvement in each other by the volunteers.
The PSS-team consist of teachers, social workers, psychologists and other relevant psychosocial professionals. The medical team mainly consists of (family)doctors and nurses.
The medical shift can be compared to a regular family doctors’ consult, in which the entire range of medicine is addressed, including several emergency situations. Also the volunteers without medical background help during these consulting-hours, for example by getting medication for the doctor/nurse. Many vulnerable people with psychological problems come to the medical shifts. Many people have a traumatic past, resulting in related complaints.
The main goal of the psychosocial shift it to communicate with refugees in a social manner. Volunteers hand out tea and chat to people around the medical and PSS cabins. In addition, volunteers play with the children and organize small activities, such as making bracelets. Lastly, from the PSS cabin baby products are handed out to families in need of them.
All volunteers can use the volunteer house we rent on Samos. The house is about a 30 minute drive away from the airport and 15 minutes from the camp. It is the place where meetings take place, and where you can relax and socialize with other volunteers. It is. Yo also the meeting place to drive together to the shift. There is a kitchen, living room and several shared bedrooms. It has the atmosphere of a hostel. You will need to share a bedroom with another volunteer (male or female). Staying in the volunteer house involves the following costs:
It is not mandatory to stay in the house, you can also choose to find alternative accommodation.