WE ARE CUrrently focused on emergency response in lesvos,
and long-term psychosocial programming in ritsona refugee camp on the mainland.
Click the buttons below to learn more about each of our active operations:
Since September 2015, Lighthouse Relief has organized emergency response operations on the north shore of Lesvos in the small fishing village of Skala Sikaminias. At a distance of 8km, Lesvos serves as a regular entry point for refugees crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey into Europe. To ensure safe passage for those seeking refuge, Lighthouse Relief has built an around-the-clock team of emergency response volunteers that respond to all north shore landings, operate day and evening spotting shifts, and work in cooperation with the other organizations to ensure arrivals are supported in overnight transit.
Lighthouse Relief volunteers take part in daily spotting activities across the north shore of Lesvos. We operate 21-hours a day, 365 days a year under all weather conditions.
Established in 2017, the Lepetimnos Daywatch is one of Lighthouse Relief's newer spotting operations. These shifts are long and demanding, but our presence is vital and has been proven to save lives.
The Korakas Nightwatch team scans the sea under the guidance of an experienced Team Leader in search of incoming boats throughout the night. While the spotting function is the same as Lepetimnos, the Nightwatch team also occasionally serves as an interim landing team as boats often land close to our Korakas spotting location.
Our Lesvos landing team provides immediate response once a boat has landed anywhere on the north shore of Lesvos.
The landing team is on-call for 24 hour shifts and must be ready to immediately respond within five minutes of a landing call. Once the location of the boat is confirmed, the team will respond with basic nutrition, water, dry clothing and blankets for the new arrivals. Above all, they aim to provide comfort and a sense of calm to those who have just made a very difficult journey and are under high levels of stress.
Arrivals must often remain in an overnight transit camp in Lesvos for a brief period before they continue their journeys through the official asylum process.
Here, they will rest, eat and be provided dry clothes, to ensure that they can continue in the best possible condition. In overnight transit, Lighthouse Relief supports with the preparation of warm beds, distribution of non-food items and re-stocking of items as necessary. The team often remains overnight to provide basic needs and comfort whenever it is needed.
SAFE SPACES & PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE GROUPS
Our team of skilled international volunteers and staff offers long-term relief, in the form of psychosocial support services, to vulnerable groups such as women, children, and young people in Ritsona camp in mainland Greece, helping them to regain a sense of community, dignity and empowerment.
Child Friendly Space
Our Child Friendly Space (CFS) is a safe place where children aged 3 to 5 can learn through play and regain a sense of normality in the midst of an emergency. The purpose of the CFS is to offer psychosocial support services that reinforce the resilience and wellbeing of children. It allows them to play with volunteers, create art projects and learn about hygiene and sanitation through fun thematic activities conducted in a safe environment. Many of the children have grown up with war, and this is their first playgroup experience. Lighthouse Relief is also committed to identifying and referring vulnerable cases: abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children can occur in many different contexts, including as a result of conflict and forced displacement.
Female Friendly Space
The Female Friendly Space (FFS) is a closed-off area for women and adolescent girls - a safe, positive community environment where female residents can go to feel secure and empowered. The private space provides access to information, education, recreational activities and support services. It also offers a range of activities including dance classes, health workshops, acupuncture sessions and a community garden. The sheltered atmosphere of the FFS allows our staff to identify women who may be at risk and refer individual cases to the appropriate protection services, based on the guidelines for Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings.
Youth Engagement Space
Our Youth Engagement Space provides a safe setting for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 to attend workshops and take the lead on projects that reveal all of their creativity, critical thinking and untapped potential. While children from 6 to 15 have access to the national school system, this older demographic is often sidelined in emergency settings when it comes to service provision. This leaves many vulnerable to marginalisation and, particularly in the case of young men, increases the risk of exploitation, exposure to violence and substance abuse. To breach this gap, Lighthouse Relief provides a space for these talented young people to retain hope and constructively invest in their long-term futures.
Presenting the Ritsona Kingdom Journal
The Ritsona Kingdom Journal is a refugee youth-run magazine powered by young people aged 16-25 in our Youth Engagement Space (YES). It features artwork, creative writing and photography from these inspiring young men and women, bearing witness to their talent and untapped potential. Past content has included everything from letters to global leaders, essays on displacement issues and many beautiful pieces of artwork depicting life in Ritsona.
Click here to learn more.