Built in 2013 on the Greek island of Lesbos, Moria camp was intended to accommodate 2,500 migrants. Yet Moria is now host to over 20,000 people, spilling out into an olive grove, with many more arriving every week. In the face of Covid-19, the already absymal sanitary conditions for the families made to live in such a space are indeed cause for alarm.
As the first entry point into Greece, the refugee population on Lesbos is ever increasing, and services are at breaking point. Overcrowded, filthy and violent, local charity workers have described Moria as “the worst refugee camp on earth.” There is scant access to hot water, hygiene is poor and disease is rife. Of this demographic, women are the most vulnerable. Attempting to access essential shower facilities leaves them particularly open to sexual harassment and abuse.
Here’s how we're helping
Becky’s Bathhouse is located in an old warehouse by the sea, away from the camp. We collect women and children from Moria and bring them to our centre for a hot shower and some peace in a safe, humane environment. We offer a cup of tea, some fruit, a rest and a chat in the company of our female volunteers, who are also on hand to take care of their kids whilst they relax. For just a few hours we aim to make life about something more than just surviving and waiting in line, providing a warm and friendly atmosphere that we hope brings a measure of dignity and respect. We give out clean underwear, and everyone gets a washbag with the essentials to take home, along with a toy for the kids.
We work alongside medical NGOs on the island, and offer showers and a laundry service to those people referred to us with scabies, which is epidemic in the camp. We also have a focus on women who are in the later stages of pregnancy.
Local coordinator Ulli Mattsson runs Becky's Bathhouse on the ground in Lesbos.
What we need from you
All donations will go directly to the running of the project.
It costs us about £4000 a month to operate the centre. That covers everything from rent and bills, the maintenance of the showers and the vehicles that we collect the visitors in, down to the little details that make the difference, like the new underwear and the healthy snacks that we give to all our guests. Anything that you can offer is hugely appreciated to enable us to carry on doing what we do.
In this era of global pandemic, donations will aid in getting essential items such as soap, sanitary napkins, diapers, and other hygiene products into the hands of women stuck inside camp.
As well as donations, we are always on the look out for female volunteers to come and stay with our international team and assist us at the Bathhouse. It's an incredible opportunity to gain experience and insight into the situation on Lesbos, and to do truly vital work.
Becky’s Bathhouse has been set up in memory of Rebecca Dykes, who was raped and murdered in Beirut in December 2017. Becky was only 30 years old, but had dedicated her life to working on refugee and humanitarian projects in Lebanon.
Her mother and auntie manage the project from the UK, and are passionate about giving women who have survived trauma a safe space within which to recuperate.
CareUK Charity collects and distributes practical items and medical aid to people in need. End of line, unwanted or excess stock items are sorted and packed in the UK, before being shipped to refugees in Syria and Greece.
Becky's Bathhouse is also supported by LUSH, who donate handmade soaps and other cosmetics for the project.