The 5 Days of Giving


For many, this time of year is a time of giving. It’s an opportunity to spend time with the ones we love and show them how much we care. But what about spreading that holiday spirit with people on the move?

As we reflect on the year that was and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in 2022, Movement On The Ground asks you to join our 5 Days of Giving. As you countdown to Christmas, we are organising and anticipating projects that can contribute to a more dignified life for people on the move. This holiday season, consider making an end of year donation during our 5 Days of Giving to support our projects on the ground.

On Day 1, we would like to recognize part of the heart of our Movement, our Community Volunteers.

Community Volunteers are camp residents that work alongside MOTG to carry out the various projects on the ground. On Lesvos, Chios, and Samos, there are more than 300 Community Volunteers working to improve their communities. Day in and day out, they work together to support each other.

The projects they work on range from delivering football sessions to assisting in waste management. This is a way for residents to be positively engaged in their community and in return they also receive a monthly volunteer package which includes a food package, clothing, and phone credit.

They are absolutely crucial to our Camp to campUS philosophy of turning refugee camps into more safe, healing and dignified environments.

It costs €10,907 a month to supply our 200 Community Volunteers on Lesvos with a monthly package. Get into the holiday spirit by supporting our amazing community volunteers!

Day 2 – Tailoring

On Day 2 of our 5 Days of Giving, we want to shine the spotlight on our tailoring program. 

On Lesvos, we started a tailoring program so community volunteers are able to provide their fellow residents with an essential service – repairing their clothes. This program has become a major way of engaging with women in the camp. 

In return for their skilled work, our tailor community volunteers receive a monthly package including lunch, a dry food package, and phone credit. Through this program, we enable female residents to feel engaged and empowered whilst they provide a much needed service to their community.

This program costs €560 per month, covering operational, equipment and stipend costs. Join us on Day 2 of our 5 Days of Giving and support our tailoring  program through an end of year donation!

Day 3 – Chai

A warm cup of tea during these cold days can really make a difference.

On Day 3 of our 5 Days of Giving, we invite you to support our Chai Points on Samos and Chios! These community spaces have been cleverly named “KalosTea”, which is a play on words with the Greek word for “welcome” – exactly the feeling we hope residents to have when they come for a drink. 

The KalosTeas are community spaces in which residents can gather, connect, and enjoy activities whilst sharing a warm drink. The first Kalostea was opened in Vial Camp on Chios in June 2021. Over the last months, both community and visiting volunteers have been hard at work, building a second indoor Kalostea in anticipation of the cold times to come. On Samos, a KalosTea was opened soon after we entered Zervou camp in September 2021. In these isolating times, we know how important it is for people to have the chance and space to connect. 

There are currently 750 residents living on Samos and Chios, and it costs €2110 a month to provide the communities with tea and coffee on a daily basis. 

Earlier this year, Linklaters Netherlands were kind enough to support us with a generous donation to winterize our Chai Point on Lesvos and make it more women friendly! It’s with actions and generosity like this, we can continue providing a warm space for residents to connect on Samos and Chios in 2022!

Day 4 – Waste management

Every human being deserves to live in a clean, safe, and dignified environment. 

On Day 4 of our 5 Days of Giving, we invite you to read about the impact our waste management program has had on Chios and support our work on the ground. 

At the beginning of the year, we were asked to work in the Vial Camp on Chios. At the time, 1200 residents were living in appalling and inhumane conditions where waste was never collected and very few services were available to residents. 

To tackle this enormous issue, MOTG kick started a joint effort between coordinators, community volunteers, and visiting volunteers who worked together, at times standing knee-high in waste, to clean the camp. MOTG engaged the local community to work together to clear 20,000 kgs of waste a week at the start, and the community has kept the camp clean since then.

To highlight the severity of the situation before we entered, here is a quote from the “Chios Diaries” written by MOTG workers in the early months on Chios:

“It is disgusting. Never in my life [have] I had to deal with so much pee, poop, waste, rats and spoiled food. I start picking up empty bottles, it feels a little less disgusting if there is no pee inside. After [a] few bottles, I raise my head and I see the guys picking up everything they come across, whether it is empty bottles or still warm yellow bottles. I immediately think that they were not the ones that created this waste in the same way that neither had I. But yet, they were picking it up with no questions. I take a deep breath (big mistake amidst all this garbage), change my gloves, and start picking up everything I find on my way. We were few people, ten in total including me, Noah and Ali. But we were strong, committed and united.” 

Additionally, the health impact of starting a waste management program has exceeded all expectations. Before MOTG entered, the NGO Salvamiento Maritimo Humanitario in Vial reported on “the sheer volume of people coming to them seeking medical aid, the infected rat bites which they don’t have antibiotics for anymore, the advanced scabies, and the severity of some of the cases that quite clearly should not be treated in a camp clinic”. After MOTG cleaned the entire camp, the number of people having to be treated in the clinic due to hygiene issues (such as rat bites and scabies) reduced enormously.

Today, the waste problem in the camp is much better controlled with daily collections and frequent larger clean ups.

In order to run the waste program in Chios for a month, it costs us €2643. With an end of year donation, you can support the community members on the ground who work hard every day to provide a cleaner, safer, and more dignified environment for everyone in Vial Camp. 

Day 5 – RIC Zervou

On our final day of our 5 Days of Giving, we want to highlight the amazing work being done by our coordinators and volunteers on Samos in the new camp, RIC Zervou. When we entered the camp in September 2021, it was devoid of color, had no spaces for the community to come together, and was filled with white ISO boxes. We knew something had to be done. 

We teamed up with our Community Volunteers to brighten up the camp with paint and murals, green spaces, and a Chai Point, Kalostea. Now, just three months later, we have been able to create a much more welcoming and dignified environment for residents. In addition, we have built a sports field where young residents are offered sports sessions, and we offer laundry services to residents. 

In a very short period, the local community has been able to bring a lot of positive changes to RIC Zervou which positively benefit the 450 residents in the camp. The population in RIC Zervous is steadily growing, and we want to continue working in the camp in the new year. Get into the holiday spirit and support those on Samos with an end of year donation!

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