If everyone helps, we can change the world, one starfish at a time
The Starfish Foundation was started by locals on Lesvos
who witnessed one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters
unfolding on their shorelines.
Born out of the need to provide humanity, dignity, and care to all, Starfish
has since expanded to become one of the leading NGOs on the island.
November 2014, 11:30 pm
The port police called me late one night. There was a group of 60 men huddled together on the shore, they were cold, and their clothes soaked. Their boat had sunk. I and some others from the town of Molyvos rushed to gather warm clothes and blankets, and I opened my restaurant to offer warm cups of tea. The next week there was another boat of people, cold, scared, and wet; and 2 more boats the week after that. Each week more and more boats arrived with refugees, up to 50 boats per day, at times.
~ Melinda McRostie, founder
Managed the registration of arriving refugees on behalf of the Port Authority
Served as the Emergency Response Coordinator of refugee ships and arrivals in peril
Set-up and managed the largest refugee transit camp on the island - named OXY - which was at one point the largest in all of Europe
Since Starfish was established in 2015 we have:
Starfish has contributed to aid distribution for over 20,000 refugees:
At the height of the humanitarian crisis in 2015, out of an enormous need, Starfish created, organised and managed a temporary reception and transit camp at the parking lot of the nightclub OXY. Almost 200,000 people in need passed through and were given shelter, food, water, and dry clothes.
The informal reception camp at OXY operated through the cooperation of many NGOs and groups, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Red Cross, the Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA), Samaritans Purse, Euro Relief, Movement on the Ground, and Islamic relief.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, visited OXY and congratulated Starfish on the operation and infrastructure of the transit camp.
An “NGO success story”