I’ve been working with the Boat Refugee Foundation in Moria, a camp with more than 6000 men, women and children. The old prison, surrounded by high fences with barbed wire, has only room for 2200 people. Walking through the camp you stumble over festival tents in which whole families live. Newborn babies, children and highly pregnant women are sleeping under a few blankets on the cold hard ground. Vulnerable people, seeking safety, have to survive in a camp with tension and riots as daily reality. The fate of their own future is no longer in their hands. In uncertainty, the days go by very slowly. They are stuck in a natural prison called Lesvos island. A hopeless situation, that for many lasts for more than a year already.
Despite all the misery, I leave Lesvos with a positive feeling. We cannot change the whole situation, but on microlevel we can make a difference! We can make sure that a ‘refugee’ feels ‘human’ again. Simply by greeting someone or by making a chat. The smile after these small gestures is heart warming. The difference can be made by empowering the people by giving them the opportunity to use their talents. Instead of being a refugee, someone is a teacher, carpenter or painter again! That’s the strength of the Boat Refugee Foundation! With all the activities the people from Moria have te lead, we only facilitate. Within one month the strength of these people have led to ”Moria School of HOPE’, where children and adults can be educated by people from the camp. School furniture, benches and cabinets have been made by professionals that live in the camp. I am very grateful that I have been able to contribute to this work!
Text: Teuntje Dijcks