Project Armonia is the only free restaurant for refugees and asylum seekers on the Greek island of Samos. We provide healthy food to the people not able to stand in the lengthy and often dangerous food lines in the camp.
By working with members of the local refugee community, we aim to restore dignity and empower them. Next to vital nutrition, we provide a welcoming place to temporarily escape the inhumane conditions of Samos’ refugee camp.
Only with your support will we be able to keep Project Armonia running during the upcoming winter months. We are reliant on your donations to prepare our restaurant for winter, cover our greatly increased winter
expenses and increase the number of people we can feed.
THE SITUATION ON SAMOS IS WORSE THAN EVER
The European migrant crisis may be out of mainstream media, but there is still very much a human rights crisis underway on Samos.
Originally built for 650 people, Samos’s refugee camp currently hosts around 7,300 refugees. Arrivals are not ceasing. With the camp over 10 times its capacity, thousands of men, women and children are forced to live outside the camp’s official perimeter, in the forest on the crowded hillside. Here, they must endure freezing winter temperatures and torrential rain in flimsy tents and make-shift shelters. They are not only without real shelter but also without running water, electricity and sanitation facilities.
To receive food, people must queue for up to 5 hours per meal each day in the freezing cold. The food people receive has little to no nutritional value. Most of the time there are not enough portions for everyone, so many will not get food after hours of waiting. This frequently causes tension and violence. It is common for this food to come expired or laced with bones, maggots and mould. It is often discarded immediately, unopened in the overflowing rivers of trash throughout the camp.
Due to the slow asylum procedure, refugees can be detained in these conditions for months, or more commonly, years. This applies to an alarming amount of pregnant women, children and newborns. Without the right food and nutrition, their minds and bodies cannot develop properly.
We want to fight these conditions with Project Armonia.
WHAT WE DO
We strongly believe that when you are forced to live in such unimaginably atrocious conditions, the effect of having access to a safe, welcoming environment where you can escape and eat a warm meal cannot be underestimated. Especially in winter.
Project Armonia offers a place away from the inhumane conditions of the camp where the most vulnerable people can relax and be treated with the dignity they deserve.
Our project is designed to reach those not able to spend five hours in a food line for one meal and those most vitally in need of nutrition. Therefore we welcome children, pregnant as well as breastfeeding women, people with disabilities, elderly and physically impaired people to our restaurant.
Currently, we can feed approximately 400 individuals each day. Additionally, we provide 200 extra meals for other organisations operating on the island.
Our team is made up of 50 volunteers from all different countries. 46 of these are refugees who currently seek asylum on Samos. We work in a way that empowers the community we serve. We aim not just to distribute food, but also to encourage individuals from the local refugee community to help themselves and others by engaging innovatively with the project. Our chefs cook nutrition geared meals from their home countries 5 days per week, providing refugees with a familiar taste of home in a foreign place.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
With migrant arrivals continuing to increase and a cold winter ahead, we need to rapidly expand our capacity and prepare our restaurant for winter. We cannot do this without your help.
Every donation will go directly towards covering the expenses of the project. The donations will be used for:
- Expanding our daily capacity from 400 to 700 in the coming winter months (increased food costs, additional pots, stoves and kitchen equipment)
- Structural changes, constructions and new heaters to prepare our restaurant for the harsh winter weather
- Increased electricity bills due to heating our centre and running washing and drying facilities for the clothes of our 46 dedicated volunteers from the local refugee community
- Starting to make our own specialised, nutritious baby food to ensure babies stay healthy during winter
- We need to be ready for the next emergency in the camp. Last month, a fire in the camp engulfed the tents of hundreds of people, including families with children, leaving them with nothing. Our center opened as an emergency shelter during that time so families had a place to sleep while the camp was in chaos, we also provided over 1,500 emergency meals. As winter weather gets worse and tensions are high, we must be ready as emergencies like this are likely to happen again.
We need your support to continue providing refugees with their basic human rights.