HELP REFUGEES - Greece Shelter project final 2016 report
It’s been a while since my last report that I sent out, after we had finished the fundraising campaign. As a quick reminder, in this last report, I explained that given the current situation and needs across what is undoutedly a globally connected problem, we had decided to shift the focus of our response to the refugee crisis, from France and Dunkirk, to Greece.
This decision was made in consultation with a number of people; those on the ground, those really informed as to what is going on, and Help Refugees, our charity partner.
Please find to follow a report on how we've spent the money we raised with you, and the impact it has had.
Project Aims and Objectives
The aim of the project was to provide shade and community spaces for refugees living in military camps in Greece. The initial projected output of the project was an increase in access to shade and respite from the hot sun, as well as access to spaces for communities to gather and conduct activities. Thanks to the creativity and agilty of our partner, Help Refugees we have been able to adapt to the ever-changing situation of the crisis and achieve more than
the initially planned outcomes.
As well as constructing shade structures, the funding has also allowed us to build wooden floors for tents to protect families from cold floors, and produce upcycled wood burning stoves to provide heat and a way to cook food.
The project aimed to address the problem of refugee camps in northern Greece having no protection from extreme weather. The isolated camps leave refugees vulnerable to intense, searing sun in the summer and sub-zero degrees in the winter. This project has successfully met its aims to protect refugees from adverse weather conditions through the construction of shaded outdoor spaces, floors and stoves.
Help Refugees initially proposed to build four shaded structures in camps in northern Greece using the funds that we raised. In the summer months shade was identified as one of the greatest needs in the refugee camps. Three shade structures have been built in SK Market – Kalochori, Softex and Vasilika
camps in Thessaloniki. These spaces have been developed by the community and have transformed from simple shaded areas to become a Child Friendly Space (Softex), a school (Kalochori) and a community space for meetings and get-togethers (Vasilika).
The impact of these structures has been significant for communities living in the three camps.
Shaded areas = 3
Once three shade structures had been built in northern Greece, the volunteer construction team reassessed the needs in the camps to ensure that Sawday's funding was being spent as effectively as possible. They identified a huge need for wooden flooring. Families living in camps around Thessaloniki are mostly housed in tents inside large, vacuous abandoned warehouses. The concrete is extremely cold and families report that it is extremely difficult to sleep. Working with refugee carpenters, the construction team have fully installed wooden floors in two camps - Frakaport and SK Market – Kalachori. The team built approximately 15 floors a day in the Help Refugees warehouse. They limited installation of floors to 16 a day in camps, always finishing work at 3pm to allow families to set up their tents again before dark.
Kalachori camp = 86 tent floors (4m x 4m = 1,376 sqm)
Frakaport camp = 120 tent floors (4m x 4m = 1,920sqm)
Wood Burning Stoves
As well as providing flooring for tents, the team on the ground identified the need for providing a source of heat and way to cook. Most stoves are prohibited in camps by the Greek authorities however our team designed a safe, upcycled stove that was deemed appropriate for distribution by both the Ministry of Migration and the Greek military. The stoves are made using recycled car tire rims welded together. They produce a significant amount of heat and can also act as a stove for pots sat on top. This simple yet highly effective design is practically cost-free, the only expenditure being the welding and construction materials that were purchased using Sawday's funds.
Monitoring and Evaluation
In total, 3,300 people have had access to shaded spaces thanks to Sawdays funding. The construction of shade structures in the three camps have correlated with a decrease in community tensions and violence. Conversations with refugees living in these camps suggest that having a space outside of their tents provides a safe arena for productive activities, particularly for children. During the summer months, the shade structures also significantly reduced the number of children affected by severe sun burn. Prior to the shaded areas, all activities for children took place outside leaving them vulnerable to the sun. Mothers in the camps report a reduction in infections from sun burn in their children. The shade structures have acted as a flexible space allowing the community to adapt them to their needs. As the seasons changed, the spaces became extremely useful for communities to seek refuge from the rain and snow. They are now used as places to eat and also a space to dry their clothes.
824 people are now living in tents with flooring. The flooring installed in two camps has made a huge impact on their lives. Discussions with families have revealed that their children are now able to sleep. Our distribution teams have also noted a reduction inrequests for blankets and sleeping bags.
25 wood burning stoves have been distributed to refugee families. After distribution, refugees have told us that they feel a huge difference in their quality of life. Not only can they keep their families warm, but they can also cook food for themselves. We have adapted our Food Programme to include dry food so that families who have the stoves are able to use the ingredients to cook.
I think it’s fair to say that the world feels very fragile right now. There’s unforgivable suffering and poverty, wars raging and the gap in opportunity, as well as basic human rights, seems to be widening at an alarming rate.
Whilst others encourage thoughts of walls and borders, we need to work harder, with our owners and our wider community of guests, to make a difference to those far less fortunate than ourselves. Even if we can only help a few people, to make their lives a little bit better, then we believe that that’s our responsibility to do so.
Next year, we will continue to do our little bit, to make the most of the opportunity we have, to help. And to show others that businesses and communities like ours, have the potential to be a force for good. To do much more than just make a profit..
In 2017 we will allocate 5% of our 2016 profits to charity; supporting great projects and causes on an international, national, and local level.
From everyone at Sawday’s and Canopy & Stars and all of our owners, we would like to thank you all once more, for making this possible. We simply couldn’t have done it without your support and donations.
Sawday's Canopy & Stars