Our team on the ground had a busy start to the year with visitors of a different kind than usual. Throughout January and February politicians from the Netherlands came to see our campUses in person, witnessing first hand our achievements in both Kara Tepe and the Olive Grove. We were really proud to share our Camp to CampUs philosophy with them and the positive impact we have made towards the refugee crisis on Lesvos.
The defining moment of the period was the visit from State Secretary Mark Harbers, who was given a tour through our Olive Grove by site manager Ali Shams Eddin, as well as co-founder of Movement on the Ground, Adil Izemrane. Ali came from Syria to Lesvos as a refugee himself 3 years ago and has since developed himself into becoming one of the key members of our movement. We think it was great that someone who is such a clear example of the positive outcomes of our Camp to CampUs philosophy could meet Harbers and talk about what he has achieved with the team at our Moria Olive Grove CampUs.
State Secretary Harbers also got to know our flag-ship CampUs, Kara Tepe, with our site partner on the ground, Stavros Mirogiannis. It's here that dutch online publication Trouw writes, the state secretary got to understand how Kara Tepe is a "model camp: a clean, tidy and organized area with space for everyone".
Apart from State Secretary Harbers, we were also visited by other Members of Parliament from the Netherlands and we were really happy to see many of them promote our work once they returned.
Members of Parliament Joel Voordewind (Christen Unie) and Maarten Groothuizen (D66), who visited us in early February, were particularly struck by the humane way people are treated in the Olive Grove and Kara Tepe. Our values and the way we are working together with people from all over the world to create a better future is something they'll take back to the Dutch Parliament. They hit the ground running, back in the Netherlands, naming us as one of the organisations the Netherlands and Europe “would be well advised to finance” in the online publication of 'Nederlands Dagblad'.
After 3 years of hard work, we were proud to have our efforts recognised by such high profile figures. But it's even more important for us that the people we showed our work to, have the power to influence policy on a broader scale so that we can make real long-lasting change.
Any contribution helps us in our mission to create a more dignified and innovative response to the refugee crisis.