Travelling to Mytilene
Lesvos Boat Arrivals
A shipwreck washes up 2015
Registration 2015
A symbol of solidarity
Immediate response
Aegean Views
Supporting communities on Lesvos
Coding Class 2017
Self-defence & yoga
Moria Camp
Support for mothers and newborns
#SafeHands Volunteers
Local Support
BagforEveryone
Moria Camp
After the Moria fire 2020
#SafeHands health promotion
Mask Distribution
OpenSpace
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Founded in 2015

Asterias - Starfish Foundation

Greek Non-Governmental Organisation

Providing practical help, assistance and support to vulnerable people on Lesvos

Our team at Starfish works on the ground to better understand the needs of the refugee communities living on the island, and the local people of Lesvos, to find practical solutions for all.

We collaborate with other NGOs and organisations, fighting to see that every person be treated with the compassion and dignity they deserve. 

Founded in 2015

Asterias - Starfish Foundation

Greek Non-Governmental Organisation

Providing practical help, assistance and support to vulnerable people on Lesvos

OUR PROJECTS

 

Baby Boxes

Since 2018, Starfish Foundation has been providing boxes for mothers and their new-born babies. These boxes contain items such sleeping bags, warm clothing for infants, underwear for the mothers, nappies, hygiene products, toys, and blankets. In 2020, Starfish distributed 350 baby boxes within Moria and the RIC Lesvos camp.

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#SafeHands

Within days of the COVID-19 pandemic being declared, Starfish initiated a handwashing project- named SafeHands- outside Moria camp. The handwashing stations provide access to clean water, soap, and protective masks and have been designed to support the Coronavirus prevention efforts within the camp. The stations are overseen by a select few Starfish supervisors, but the majority of daily operations are run by resident volunteers. Each resident volunteer has received training from medical actors to ensure that the information regarding correct mask usage, and COVID-specific hand washing procedures are understood by all #SafeHands volunteers and are shared with anyone who visits the stations.

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Breastfeeding Initiative

The Starfish team, having seen a gap in the provision of breastfeeding services to women in the camp, partnered with MAM Beyond Borders to start a breastfeeding initiative in December 2020.
The initiative focuses on supporting pregnant women at term (especially in the case of their first pregnancy), and breastfeeding mothers and infants up to 1 year old. The initiative encourages and promotes breastfeeding and is led by a team of healthcare volunteers with previous experience in the field. The programme supports a female-focussed network for community support within the camp, with group classes and one to one consultations both available. The healthcare volunteers discuss the importance of breastfeeding for preventing and reducing the risk of maternal health and infant issues, and highlight that breastfeeding helps reduce improper and incorrect use of breastmilk substitutes.

 

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Greek language Class

Language skills are one of the most critical components for refugees to integrate into a host community, and after noticing a gap in language lessons for adults, Starfish began offering Greek classes in Moria. The classes have continued in the RIC Lesvos camp, conducted four times a week. Since re-starting the classes in the camp, over 100 students have registered to learn Greek with Starfish. 

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Local Initiatives

With the help of organisations such as Open Society, Starfish continues to support local communities on Lesvos. In 2020 alone, Starfish allocated funding for 48 different groups on the island. The money supported local sports teams, music groups, cultural associations, primary schools, and social enterprises: strengthening their capacity for growth.

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Empowering Women

To provide support to women and other vulnerable populations on Lesvos, we organised and hosted self-defence and empowerment classes, as well as yoga classes. Between 2018-2020 we distributed over 2350 free bus tickets to women in the camp who came along to either our self-defence or yoga classes in Mytilene, we organised classes inside Moria camp, and within our own OpenSpace building, and have overseen the training of 13 women to become qualified self-defence and empowerment teachers. Our workshops are currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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OpenSpace

OpenSpace is Starfish Foundation’s locally run opportunity hub for education and co-working. Based in the centre of Mytilene, OpenSpace encourages integration between local Greeks and migrant communities on the island through the organisation of activities such as yoga, self defence and empowerment classes, tech labs, sewing classes, and seminars. Additionally, within the space there is a co-working area which can be rented out by individuals or organisations, and a multilingual library which includes over 3,000 books.

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BagForEveryone

The bagforeveryone project focuses on teaching people the skill of sewing. In partnership with the #educationforeveryone team in Switzerland, Starfish host sewing workshops within their OpenSpace building which encourages everyone- both from the refugee and migrant communities, and local Greeks, to learn a practical skill that will support them in the future. Participants of the sewing workshops work to make “shopper” bags, which are then sold online; 100% of the profits are reinvested back into the project.

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Foliá

In April 2021, Starfish took over the management of a shelter for vulnerable migrant women and their children on Lesvos. The shelter, named Foliá (Greek for “nest”), is a space where women and children, who are at different points of their asylum procedure, are supported with food, clothing, and basic needs, as well as referrals to medical, psychological, bureaucratic, and legal support.  We place a focus on social integration and independence; English and Greek classes are provided, as well as CV and employability workshops, and extracurricular activities such as yoga, self-defence, and swimming.

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Multilingual Library

The Starfish Library is located within OpenSpace. Over 3,000 books line the shelves, books written in Greek, English, Farsi, French, Arabic, and German. The library has been designed to be an accessible and educational tool for both local Greeks and refugees living inside and out of the camp; you can either browse the books in person at OpenSpace or online (browse here). For those living inside the camp, Starfish have set up a library station where people can pick up the books of their choice and browse the catalogue on a tablet if they don’t have access to internet themselves.

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