We are now looking for longterm staff volunteers! To see the volunteer position announcements, please click here

FAQ'S

To volunteer with Lighthouse Relief in mainland Greece you need to be over 21 years old and stay for a minimum period of 2 weeks. Please be aware that we receive more e-mails than we have time to answer. Make sure you read through this web page before e-mailing questions, as the answers are often found here. 

As the situation has changed from an emergency setting to a permanent situation where people are stranded rather than arriving, we are not in need for general short term volunteers anymore.

The reply to your volunteer application can take up to 3 days. If you get accepted into our volunteer program, you will also need to take an online course in humanitarian response before your arrival.

Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about volunteering with the different operations, how to join and how best to prepare. This page provides information about:
1. Volunteering in Katsikas refugee camp.
2. Volunteering in Ritsona refugee camp.
3. Volunteering in Lesvos.
If you are uncertain about what operation will be the best fit for you, please read through it all.


1. Volunteering in Katsikas refugee camp.

1. AM I NEEDED?

We have a team of staff volunteers on site with a background in the specific areas we work with. We welcome skilled volunteers to join in a supporting role if you have a background in:

  • Child care
  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Protection
  • Infant feeding
  • Medical work
  • Midwives
  • Construction
  • Language (Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Urdu, Greek)
  • Communication

We also gladly receive applications from people wanting to fund and/or work with leisure or school activities that would be suitable for our Communal Spaces, Child Friendly Space and Female Friendly Space.

2. HOW DO I JOIN?

You will need to fill out The Lighthouse Volunteer Program - Registration Form. After you filled it out, you will receive an e-mail from one of our coordinators within 3 days. If you are accepted, you will be provided with a link to an online training you need to do before your arrival.

3. WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

Katsikas camp is located in the village of Katsikas, 15 minutes drive from Ioannina, mainland Greece. Ioannina has an airport for domestic flights, and the airport is just a 20 minutes drive from the camp. From Thessaloniki it's a 2,5 hour drive to Katsikas.

4. WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

We trying to provide some accommodation for longer term volunteers close to the camp in Katsikas. There are also many hotels in the city of Ioannina.

5. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND?

A car is the easiest way to get around in Northern Greece. Public transport is limited and not very reliable. 

A car is also a great way to support Lighthouse Relief as it enables you to get around easily and help with warehouse transportation, purchasing and distribution.

6. ANY PRACTICAL THINGS I SHOULD KNOW?

You need to bring an unlocked phone and purchase a Greek SIM card with data. Most of our communication is done over Whatsapp and it is important to be able to stay in touch. SIM cards can be purchased in the bigger cities.

7. WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING?

The weather in Greece sometimes changes dramatically from day to day. We recommend that volunteers pack heavy-duty shoes and clothes resistant to rain and wind, as well as clothes for hot days.

Now it is starting to get warmer. For those working in camps, we ask you to be culturally sensitive towards the communities we are going to be working with in your choice of clothes.

8. ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE?

We recommend that volunteers acquaint themselves with the broader context of the refugee situation. 

Our program for volunteers is focused on the humanitarian policy of "do no harm." We have seen wonderful efforts on the ground by volunteers and without them a lot of the relief efforts provided for refugees would disappear. In order to continue this, we recognise the importance of sending well-prepared volunteers in order to have a positive impact on the ground, as well as to ensure the wellbeing of everyone involved. We ask all incoming volunteers to complete a module on humanitarian assistance through Disaster Ready. Details about this training will be sent to you after registration. 

Please note that the nature of the work here can be highly frustrating, stressful and emotionally taxing. The environment here can often be tense. Self-care is very important, and if you feel like you need help, there is support available. 

9. WHAT KIND OF WORK WILL I BE DOING?

Please read the operation's profile carefully before applying to ensure that you will be suitable for the role.

Lighthouse Relief has a coordinating role in the camp and also works on protection issues, translation, distribution, construction, cleaning and much more.

We plan to turn Katsikas camp into a community for the people staying here by supporting them in setting up communal areas, children's and women's spaces, communal kitchens, places for washing, distribution hubs, wifi and much more.

For these reasons, we are especially looking for those with experience and skills in Social Work, Child Protection and Infant Feeding in Emergencies specialists, construction abilities and language skills. We are especially looking for female Arabic/Farsi/Kurdish translators and Greek speakers. We are also seeking applications from anyone with specific skills to offer longterm.


2. Volunteering in RItsona refugee camp.

1. AM I NEEDED?

We have a team of staff volunteers on site with a background in the specific areas we work with. We welcome skilled volunteers to join in a supporting role if you have a background in:

  • Child care
  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Protection
  • Infant feeding
  • Medical work
  • Midwives
  • Construction
  • Language (Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Urdu, Greek)
  • Communication

We also gladly receive applications from people wanting to fund and/or work with leisure or school activities that would be suitable for our Child Friendly Space and Female Friendly Space.

2. HOW DO I JOIN?

You will need to fill out The Lighthouse Volunteer Program - Registration Form. After you filled it out, you will receive an e-mail from one of our coordinators within 3 days. If you are accepted, you will be provided with a link to an online training you need to do before your arrival.

3. WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

Ritsona refugee camp is located one hour north of Athens, near the island of Evia.

4. WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

Many volunteers are living in Chalkida, a nearby city, and most of them at John's hotel. It is also possible to live in Vathi or Avlida Beach. Some are also staying at an Airbnb in nearby areas.

5. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND?

A car is the easiest way to get around in Greece. Public transport is limited and not very reliable. As a new coming volunteer it is essential to have a car. Otherwise it is difficult to reach the camp. A car can be rented at the airport in Athens.

A car is also a great way to support Lighthouse as it enables you to get around easily and help with warehouse transportation, purchasing and distribution.

6. ANY PRACTICAL THINGS I SHOULD KNOW?

You need to bring an unlocked phone and purchase a Greek SIM card with data. Most of our communication is done over Whatsapp and it is important to be able to stay in touch. SIM cards can be purchased in Chalkida or Athens.

7. WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING?

The weather in Greece sometimes changes dramatically from day to day. We recommend that volunteers pack heavy-duty shoes and clothes resistant to rain and wind.

Now it is starting to get warmer. For those working in camps, we ask you to be culturally sensitive towards the communities we are going to be working with in your choice of clothes.

8. ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE?

We recommend that volunteers acquaint themselves with the broader context of the refugee situation. 

Our program for volunteers is focused on the humanitarian policy of "do no harm." We have seen wonderful efforts on the ground by volunteers and without them a lot of the relief efforts provided for refugees would disappear. In order to continue this, we recognise the importance of sending well-prepared volunteers in order to have a positive impact on the ground, as well as to ensure the wellbeing of everyone involved. We ask all incoming volunteers to complete a module on humanitarian assistance through Disaster Ready. Details about this training will be sent to you after registration. 

Please note that the nature of the work here can be highly frustrating, stressful and emotionally taxing. The environment here can often be tense. Self-care is very important, and if you feel like you need help, there is support available. 

9. WHAT KIND OF WORK WILL I BE DOING?

Please read the operation's profile carefully before applying to ensure that you will be suitable for the role.

Lighthouse Relief has a coordinating role in the camp and we run a Women-Baby space, Female Friendly space, Child Friendly space. We also work on construction and with leisure activities.

We want to turn Ritsona camp into a community for the people staying here by supporting them together with the two other volunteer organisations in setting up communal areas, safe spaces for women and children and much more.

For these reasons, we are especially looking for long term staff willing to take on coordination and management roles, Arabic and Kurdish speakers, female volunteers with infant feeding in emergencies specialists, innovative and self-motivated volunteers with experience in childcare and protection, and counselors, social workers, and volunteers experienced with trauma. As we are building and constructing a lot, handy volunteers with construction skills are needed here. We are also seeking applications from anyone with specific skills to offer longterm.


3. VOLUNTEERING IN LESVOS.

1. AM I NEEDED?

Yes. Right now the arrivals are less frequent, but we are keeping a 24/7 presence in the camp and on the shores if they increase again. We have combined the reception camp and the clean-up operation on Lesvos, using the camp as a base for upcycling projects, meetings and also as a place for volunteer accommodation. Boats do still arrive occasionally and that is why we need to keep a presence at the site. Please check this page regularly for the status of the camp.

The watch at Korakas remains a key player in ensuring the safety of potential arrivals and here we want long term volunteers with a background in lifeguarding and search and rescue. 

2. HOW DO I JOIN?

While the reception camp may be winding down, our environmental clean-up operations on the North Eastern coast of Lesvos with Skala Sikamineas is in full swing! Please visit the ECO Relief page to volunteer at the camp and/or with the environmental projects.

Our specialised operations in Korakas require volunteers who can commit for at least 4 weeks. Please scroll down to read more about joining the Korakas team.

3. WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

We have a field office and base camp in the small village of Skala Sikamineas. We also work in Kara Tepe, Korakas and the whole north eastern coast with our clean-up operation.

The nearest airport and port is Mytilene, around an hour's drive from Skala Sikamineas. Public transport to Skala Sikamnieas is very limited.

4. WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

There are a few hotels and apartments to rent in Skala Sikamineas, for example Nikis, Hotel Gorgona, Karagiannaki and Afrodites. It is also possible to stay in our beautiful base camp in an olive grove outside Skala Sikamineas. 

5. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND?

A car or scooter is the easiest way to get around in Lesvos. Public transport is limited and not very reliable. 

A car is also a great way to support Lighthouse as it enables you to get around easily and help with warehouse transportation, purchasing and distribution.

The distance between the camp and the village of Skala Sikamineas is just a 5 minute walk. To get from the airport to Skala Sikamineas by taxi, the price is about 70 euros. You can also try Lesvos ride sharing group on Facebook.

6. ANY PRACTICAL THINGS I SHOULD KNOW?

You need to bring an unlocked phone and purchase a Greek SIM card with data if you stay long term. Most of our communication is done over Whatsapp and it is important to be able to stay in touch. SIM cards can be purchased in Mytilini.

7. WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING?

The weather in Lesvos sometimes changes dramatically from day to day. We recommend that volunteers pack heavy-duty shoes and clothes resistant to rain and wind, as well as swimwear if you work with the clean-up. We also have wetsuits, helmets, life jackets and backpacks to borrow for the shore clean-up.

8. ANYTHING I CAN DO TO PREPARE?

We recommend that volunteers acquaint themselves with the broader context of the refugee situation in Europe and the Middle Eastern countries. 

9. WHAT KIND OF WORK WILL I BE DOING?

Lighthouse Relief operations in Lesvos run 24 hours a day. We always have volunteers on shift. For this reason, Lighthouse volunteers should be ready and prepared to work occasional night shifts during their time here. Please read each operation's profile carefully before applying to ensure that you will be suitable for the role.

Skala Sikamineas

Our team in Skala is focused on keeping a presence at our reception site in case of any boat arrivals, as well as getting involved with various clean up and upcycling initiatives. Daily tasks here are varied and changing constantly, but will include:

  • Beach clean-up 
  • Upcycling of boats, lifevests etc
  • Basic maintenance of camp
  • Keeping a presence here in case of boat arrivals in the area
  • Many others

Korakas lighthouse

Lighthouse operates a night watch shift at the Korakas lighthouse on the north shore of Lesvos. It is a remote, windswept site only reachable by 4x4 vehicles. There is no electricity, running water, or toilets at the site. Our operation in Korakas is now focused on surveillance in order to spot boats before they land on the cliffs and inform rescue (boat) teams to their location. Daily tasks will involve:

  • Responsibility of equipment inventory and maintenance, including upkeep of a 4x4 car. 
  • Participation in drills and training exercises
  • Logistical support for the Search and Rescue team who are based at Korakas 24/7.
  • Radio and telephone communication with rescue teams and coast guard once a boat has been spotted.
  • Leading the team, including conducting briefings, organizing shift patterns as well as reporting to field coordinator.
  • Sleeping at Korakas in a tent with shifts of two-three hours (in the observation hut) using specialised equipment (thermal vision) to look out for refugee boats.

Please note we are looking for participants aged 21+, with a valid driver's licence and a minimum commitment of four weeks in order to facilitate training. To volunteer at Korakas, please visit the volunteer positions page.