My name is Alice and I am a 4th Year Business & Management Student.
I have recently finished volunteering with The Hope Project in Lesvos, Greece. Lesvos is the ‘temporary’ home to nearly 11,000 refugees living in severely overcrowded, unsanitary and dangerous camps. Lesvos is considered to be at breaking point, yet hundreds of desperate people are still arriving on the island by boat daily seeking safety - increasing the number of people already facing great hardship and immense difficulties in trying to seek asylum. 11,000 people are stuck in the camps with only tar-poling covers, they are at risk of developing serious illness, violence and the threat of freezing to death when this winter hits and snow collapses the tents.
The Hope Project aims to provide aid and support to those who are fleeing conflict or facing injustice, poverty or persecution. As well as aid, they focus on the empowerment of the incredibly talented individuals caught in this crisis.
I was very lucky to work alongside their fantastic team in the distribution warehouse. Here new individuals and families are given everything they desperately need - a hygiene pack, clothes, shoes, blankets and for children a teddy or toy.
Alongside this, they have also built an art centre to promote good mental health when the number of serious mental health conditions amongst the refugees is overwhelming. This project focuses on fostering the artistic talents of those individuals stuck in the camp, through performing arts and other art based programs. Music, poetry, theatre and dance alongside painting, ceramics, photography and so much more are offered.
Balancing the art centre, the warehouse and providing coastal watch and shore response - The Hope Project desperately require funds to keep the organisation going. Every week the warehouse goes through a minimum of 750 tooth brushes, 150 tooth pastes, shampoo bottles, bars of soap.... and despite receiving product donations they inevitably run out of resources and have to buy more. They also need to pay rent for the warehouses were they distribute this vital aid and support.
I witnessed first hand the incredible work of the The Hope Project and beyond lucky to have spent even a small amount of time with and learn from such incredible, dedicated and kind people doing all the can to help others whilst in desperate situations themselves. I felt privileged to hear their extraordinary yet unimaginable stories and will be returning to Lesvos early next year. In the mean time I endeavour to fundraise for the Hope Project on campus to contribute to their provision of vital aid that will save lives this winter.
Join me to stand in support with grass root organisations, like The Hope Project, who show compassion, dignity and respect for the individuals being forced to live in inhumane conditions; when so many have let them down.