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If you’re interested in volunteering for or otherwise supporting a charity working with refugees in Greece, read on. These are some of the many organisations working to make a difference.
Athens-based Khora was founded by a group of people who met while working with refugees on the island of Lesvos. They seek to support and enable refugees in Athens by creating a welcoming and safe environment for people to eat and socialise together. The charity offers daily meals, legal and administrative support, creative workshops and education from their community centre in central Athens. To volunteer, send them an email or visit the centre on Saturdays for their volunteer inductions.
One Happy Family is a community centre on the island of Lesvos. They provide ongoing support for individuals seeking refuge, and strive to create a normal and positive environment for individuals enduring extreme and distressing circumstances. One Happy Family welcomes volunteers for flexible periods, ranging from two weeks to long-term commitments. Find out more on their website.
Founded in 2015, Sea of Solidarity is a non-profit organisation that was created to respond to the immediate needs of refugees arriving on Lesvos. They work to create humane conditions within the camps, and support new arrivals. Sea of Solidarity has also expanded their work to include aid for those in camps on mainland Greece, providing food and clothing as well as grass-roots education initiatives. Find out more on their website.
ReVive Greece is an innovative charity that seeks to empower refugees through education and training, specifically in the tech sector. The non-profit aims to facilitate integration and establish positive futures by helping individuals start their careers as web designers and coders. All graduates keep the computer that they trained on, ensuring they enter the professional world with the equipment and skills they need to continue. If you have a background in software development and are interested in volunteering, read how on their website.
The Schoolbox Project provides trauma-informed play and education to displaced children. The organisation converts existing empty spaces (such as shipping containers, tents or pavements) into schools, and uses solar power. These mobile ‘school boxes’ continue to help children around the around, providing support at a crucial time in their development. In Greece, they operate in Lechania, a four-hour drive from Athens. Find out how to become involved on their website.
Za’atar is a refugee charity based in Athens that focuses on providing support to single women, mothers with children and members of the LGBT community. The organisation has established a safe and supportive community for arrivals in Athens. Current projects include the ‘Buddy Project’, which provides emotional and psychological support for unaccompanied minors, and the creation of the Orange House, which provides a place for individuals to relax, socialise and receive advice and information. Find out how to volunteer and donate on their website.
The Open Cultural Centre is a charitable organisation based in Barcelona and throughout Greece. They work in camps throughout Greece, providing assistance and cultural education within and close to the refugee camps. This includes teaching and providing practical information and resources to individuals in need. They also host community events such as open-mic nights and sports activities. Find out more on their website.
The Dutch Boat Refugee Foundation works in Athens and at camps on Moria, on the island of Lesvos. The charity was originally founded with a view to helping new arrivals. As the situation in the camp in Moria has worsened and become more permanent, they now focus on providing long-term structural support to individuals stranded on Lesvos. Find out more on their website.
Help Refugees is a global charity that works in the most crisis-stricken refugee camps in Europe and the Middle East. In Greece, they work across the country, providing medical, nutritional and administrative aid, and ensuring that refugees receive critical support throughout the year. They also run a refugee rescue programme that directly works to save lives. To be involved or donate, visit their website.