ACTION | for refugees and locals on Samos

By Just Action

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For us action is everything

We formed Just Action during the COVID19 lockdown and days of camp fires. We couldn't sit back and watch. It's time for action.

In Just Action, we're dedicated to changing the approach. We're here to create a more sustainable impact for both refugees and locals. We want more collaboration, engagement and understanding. We're deeply rooted in local knowledge, with one of us even being born and raised on Samos. We believe that you get further if you understand things from the perspective of the local communities.

That is also why we decided from the very beginning that we stand with everyone. Whether they live across the street, in the refugee camp or on the other side of the island. It's important for us to help wherever it's needed and to act from an understanding of how connected the struggles of the different communities are. While most of our project focus are on the refugee camp, we acknowledge that many locals are struggling as well.

The situation is getting more and more challenging

As a result of the refugee crisis, the island of Samos faces several challenges. The camp itself is way over capacity and the conditions are inhumane. Around 6400 people now live in the camp and the surrounding jungle. The majority of them are without real shelter, running water, electricity and sanitation facilities. The food provided in the camp is of questionable quality and requires hours of waiting in the packed food line every day. Garbage is everywhere and especially the two huge rivers of trash that are going through the camp are full, attracting a large number of rats and creating a huge health risk.

As we see it, some of the biggest problems are the lack of dignity in terms of quality food, clean living areas and suitable options for keeping good hygiene.  

On top of this, the consequences of the refugee crisis and COVID19 are also affecting the local community a lot. The absent tourism this year puts many families to the test in a society where many are already struggling to make ends meet. 

Here’s what we’re doing about it

The last few months, we have been supporting the most vulnerable with food.  We packed and distributed more than 4000 bags of food to the camp residents, while we supported local families through the social market, social workers and local initiatives. We want to continue this vital support to both communities. Our main goal is to open a free market where people can come and shop according to their needs of food and hygiene items. Those visiting us will be able to choose themselves directly from the shelves. We believe this creates room for a more dignified way of receiving support. By working closely with local producers and helping them developing their business, we also aim to boost the local economy in order to create a bigger impact.

Currently, we're also running a waste management project in the jungle part of the camp. Three times a week our team of volunteers are collecting trash and educating the camp residents on the issue. Each week we remove around 500 big trash bags out of the camp. In collaboration with partner organisations on the ground, we're planning a huge deep cleaning to substantially reduce the levels of trash inside the camp while continuing our weekly effort to ensure that the problem is kept under control. 

We realised that most of the trash that lies around is plastic bottles. Therefore, we are about to start a plastic recycling project where we provide frozen water in exchange for collected plastic bottles. We're in contact with different companies who will be in the recycling end of things so the plastic can be recycled into new useful things.

At the moment these projects are our core focus. However, we know that there is much more do here and we continue to be open for ways to help the different communities on the island. As more emergencies are likely to occur, we also need to be ready to act and support immediately.

You can help us to continue to act fast

With the COVID19 crisis, the communities on the island are struggling more and more. Support to the refugees has been decreasing vastly as a result of restrictions, while support to vulnerable local families strongly affected by the lack of tourism is very limited too. We want to make sure that none of them feels alone. But we cannot do this without your help.

Every donation will go directly towards covering the expenses of our projects.

Your support will help us to keep supporting whoever needs it on Samos. We appreciate your helping hand more than words can express!

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Team Members

Just Action

Lene Kjølby Lundsgaard

Vasilis Barekos