We've got some big news!
Updated: Apr 5
In April of 2021, a shelter for vulnerable migrant women and their children on Lesvos was at risk of closing down. The organisation previously running the shelter had to focus their efforts on safe houses on the mainland, and so, they approached Starfish to take over the project.
Over the last month, we have gone rather quiet on our social media and online platforms as we dedicated a significant amount of time doing a thorough handover of the shelter: connecting with the residents, ensuring all paperwork was in order, organising activities and classes, and conducting renovations with a construction team to create a safe, comfortable, and relaxing space for all the women and children residing in the house.
Construction is underway to improve the building
But now, we'd like to tell you a bit more about the project, and why it is such a necessary service for people living on Lesvos
Why was this shelter created in the first place?
With over 6,125 people living within the main refugee camp on Lesvos (many of whom are seen as highly vulnerable cases due to concerns for their safety, or their mental or physical health, for example): safe houses on the island are a much-needed service.
In addition to the everyday hardships of living in a camp and navigating the asylum process in Greece, women living in the camps were reporting inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, and attacks. In response to this, a shelter was opened to support single migrant women and mothers with basic needs while also providing safety for them and their children. At the shelter, which we have now named "Foliá" (Greek for "nest"), priority is given to candidates who are single women and mothers with children under the age of 3 years old.
How will Starfish support the residents of the shelter?
Foliá is a space where women and children, who are at different points of their asylum procedure, are supported. In addition to providing food, clothing, and basic needs, 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. These workshops are conducted alongside medical, psychological, bureaucratic, and legal support for the women and children living in the house.
Swim classes with the residents of Folia began this week
Can you help us raise awareness?
We need your help! We are hoping to fundraise €5,000 to cover ongoing construction work, replace broken household items, and manage the day-to-day running costs of the shelter over the next three months. If you could spread the word to friends, family, and colleagues about this project, or share on your social media, we would be incredibly grateful, or if you would like to donate you can do so by clicking the button below: