End of summer updates!
Updated: Apr 5
This summer has been eventful
Starfish foundation has been busy keeping up with our diverse projects! Our team at Starfish is ever-changing and we have yet again another good team of international volunteers with us. The same follows with our community volunteers, although some have left as they finally got their passports and are headed to new homes.
We would like to thank everyone who has been volunteering with us or supported Starfish foundation in any way!
We are 7 years old!
October is a special month for Starfish foundation as it has been 7 years since we became a registered NGO! On that day, however, we actually forgot our own birthday! So now we are setting a reminder for the 15th of October for next year. But do not fear, we are planning a late birthday celebration, as it is the perfect excuse to have a party.
To think that seven years ago, our journey started as an emergency response in the village of Molyvos, where Melinda, founder of Starfish foundation, ran her restaurant. At the beginning of this month, the Starfish team went on a trip to Molyvos and visited the restaurant on the last day of its opening. We were told the stories that happened there and how refugees arrived on the same shore we were eating at. Starfish Foundation has since then developed from that first emergency response in order to continue to deliver our core mission of compassion, dignity, and humanity. The Starfish team has grown and has continuously adapted and changed when needed, creating projects that aim to help, where help is needed.
Our long-term projects have been keeping us busy as usual. Our multilingual library has been one of the cornerstones of our operations in the RIC Lesvos camp. With our library container and pop-up station, we have been able to service 190 people and lent out 252 books since March of this year. In the camp, we have furthermore continued our SafeHands project. The operations have certainly reduced since the height of Covid-19 but we still hand out masks during the food distributions and offer two handwashing stations. Since March we have distributed 13,568 masks in the camp with the help of community volunteers!
If you are following us on Social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, we hope that you noticed our new projects, OpenBike and Open Football Community. The OpenBike project started in April of this year and has not stopped growing. We provide two bicycle stations available to everyone; In the RIC refugee camp and in our opportunity hub, OpenSpace. There is little to no access to learn bicycle mechanics and proper use of bicycles for many of those living in the camp. We address this by offering free assistance to fix bikes, the right tools, workshops to learn bicycle mechanics and bicycle riding lessons!
Starfish continues operations for Open Football Community (OFC). Our program cultivates personal growth through sports by implementing our three pillars - community, skills, and mental health. This month OFC participated in a friendly game with a local team. Our team did not win, but we did have fun! We strive to promote conversations between the Greek and refugee communities to fight stigma and it starts with friendly games such as this one. OFC continues football training twice a week where we create a friendly environment around football. We are excited to see the dedication and love for the game in our 65 young athletes.
We further have some important updates about our partner organization, MAM who operated with us on the Breastfeeding and Women Health project for since 2020. We are now closing down their operations as the camp population has reduced. Do not fear though as other NGOs are able to take over. Starfish Foundation will keep giving out baby-boxes to those in need and continue to focus on the women's shelter, Foliá.
In regards to Foliá, we have had some residents leave to continue their journey to Europe and therefore we were able to welcome new residents. The residents at Foliá have been participating in English classes, weekly fitness classes and bike riding classes recently, which has been a lot of fun. A fun update from us is that we are currently working on an online cookbook made by residents at Foliá, so keep an eye out for it, we plan to sell it to raise funds for the house!
Greetings from the Starfish team!