Looking back on 2019


As we countdown until the New Year, we want to take this time to extend our thanks to you, our movers, for the support you have provided us over the last year. Without your contributions, support and encouragement we would not have been able to invest in the residents of the refugee camps on Lesvos and Samos.

2019 was a huge year for us at Movement on the Ground; we experienced many uplifting moments, many challenging situations and of course, many changes, but overall, we have become stronger as an organisation, and we plan to take this energy into 2020!

So, as we wave goodbye to 2019, we want to take this time to reflect upon the biggest actions of the last year.

A few of our smaller residents on Samos gather round to watch us work!

At the beginning of 2019, we officially expanded our efforts to Samos  with Martijn Van Ommen stationed as the ground coordinator. He started off the year as a one-man army, but over the past months, he recruited a dedicated team of resident volunteers and set up an effective waste management program to deal with the overflow of rubbish in and around the Samos camp. He finished off the year with a team of dedicated visiting volunteers, which included Ahmad, a former resident volunteer of Lesvos who now resides in the Netherlands.

Ahmad and some of the Samos resident volunteer team getting ready for the morning rubbish collection and bag distribution. 

Throughout the year, we continued to run our existing long-term projects that are focused on skill building, integration and the encouragement of peaceful coexistence on Lesvos. We expanded our Digital Learning Lab program, in collaboration with IBM, and we now have three classrooms supporting refugees and Greek residents across Lesvos. Our sports program, which is supported with framework from the Barca Foundation, has continued to help refugees and Greek children play together and learn about the value of sharing. As a part of our sports program, we held a series of football tournaments throughout the year, including one for World Refugees Day and one for Christmas. We even got our very own football pitch on Kara Tepe thanks to the help of Dutch volunteers Rens, Mark and Bart-Jan. We have also been able to establish a range of new projects in Kara Tepe and the Olive Groves, including Compassionate Companions, a project set up by a former long-term volunteer to sterilise and treat the ill cats of Kara Tepe. Oh, and FC Barcelona even paid us a visit on the ground!

Our football program has seen high levels of participartion and engagement this year!

While we have made many positive strides forward, we have also had to tackle the severe overcrowding problems occurring in both Moria camp and Vathy camp. The overcrowding sent the Moria hotspot into a state of emergency in August, and in response to this, we have been working tirelessly to support and dignify the situation for the residents of the camp. In response, we have been able to now provide stable shelter for over 4,000 people residing in the Olive Groves outside Moria camp, utilising our Camp To CampUs philosophy to execute this. We recently finished levelling and gravelling a new section in the Olive Groves and have even been able to install new wash units, thanks to the help of Doctors Without Borders and Help Refugees.

This year, the expansion of Moria camp hit breaking point and the influx of new arrivals has been greater than ever before.

Behind the scenes, we have engaging more extensively with political stakeholders. We have and will continue working with the Greek government to implement sustainable solutions around the refugee crisis on Lesvos and Samos. We also facilitated the visitations of many Dutch ministers  including Stef Blok and Ankie Broekersknol, and presented petitions to the Dutch parliament in order to gain greater support for our work in Greece. We have also joined forces with COA to discuss the implementation of refugee reception centres and services on Greece.

Our founder, Adil Izemrane and Island Representative, Rosa Duran, meeting with the Ducth Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok.

In the Amsterdam office, we have welcomed three new starters, and the expansion of the office team will continue into the New Year. The expansion of the office team has and will facilitate the growth of our organisation. On the ground, we have been able to secure long-term coordinators  particularly on Lesvos, which has enabled greater structure and a more effective workflow. Our team of resident volunteers is bigger than ever and our visiting volunteer engagement hit a serious peak this year.

A few of our dedicated resident volunteer members...

All in all, we are so proud of our efforts as an organisation over the last year and we thank all of those who have assisted our mission in dignifying the situation on Lesvos and Samos.

As for the New Year, well we hope to continue to execute our mission, with the help of our Movement community of course! We want to continue to invest in the lives, the wellbeing and the futures of the residents living in and around the camps on Lesvos and Samos.

Thank you again for all of your support and we wish you all the best for the New Year ahead!

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