ABOUT

BORDERLINE LESVOS

we welcome refugees

Borderline Lesvos began working in Lesvos in 2015. We funded ourselves as a subbranch of the German association Borderline Europe – Human rights without borders e.V. and we fully registered as independent NGO in May 2016 in Lesvos. Since then we have been active in several projects regarding first reception of refugees (emergency response) but also and especially in integration projects that work long term based with locals and refugees in Lesvos. We believe that building an inclusive community of solidarity and dignity can be the only answer to the so called “refugee crisis”, in other words the response against the misery and the lack of political decisions that are based on human rights for everyone can only exist with local networks fighting against the inhuman.

Currently our team consists of two social support receptionists, one of them Farsi/English speaking the other one Greek/English; six part time teachers, one Greek teacher, two English teachers, one art therapist, one geography and one math teacher. We have two coordinators (legal representatives) one of them a local Greek and one a local resident since 4 years from Germany. They both deal with administration, finances, communication and coordination. We have one part time driver for transportation of refugees from the shore to the first reception. We work with local networks and cooperate with many other organizations and independent volunteers depending on the needs, season, funds and projects we are active. Besides our human resources we currently rent two spaces for our projects and have one Pick-Up car to our use.

What we do currently in Lesbos? See our projects here.

​​See our annual report 2019 here

Borderline Lesvos began working in Lesvos in 2015. We funded ourselves as a subbranch of the German association Borderline Europe – Human rights without borders e.V. and we fully registered as independent NGO in May 2016 in Lesvos. Since then we have been active in several projects regarding first reception of refugees (emergency response) but also and especially in integration projects that work long term based with locals and refugees in Lesvos. We believe that building an inclusive community of solidarity and dignity can be the only answer to the so called “refugee crisis”, in other words the response against the misery and the lack of political decisions that are based on human rights for everyone can only exist with local networks fighting against the inhuman.

Currently our team consists of two social support receptionists, one of them Farsi/English speaking the other one Greek/English; six part time teachers, one Greek teacher, two English teachers, one art therapist, one geography and one math teacher. We have two coordinators (legal representatives) one of them a local Greek and one a local resident since 4 years from Germany. They both deal with administration, finances, communication and coordination. We have one part time driver for transportation of refugees from the shore to the first reception. We work with local networks and cooperate with many other organizations and independent volunteers depending on the needs, season, funds and projects we are active. Besides our human resources we currently rent two spaces for our projects and have one Pick-Up car to our use.

What we do currently in Lesbos? See our projects here.

 

​​

THE ISLAND OF LESVOS

Sheep, Students, Ouzo & Migrants

Lesvos (also called Lesbos or Mitilini) is a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. It’s famous as the birthplace of the ancient Greek poet Sappho. Capital city Mitilini is home to the University of the Aegean with about 8 000 students every year. It is the third largest island of Greece. Its inhabitants earn most of their living with farming either sheep-related (meat, milk, cheese, yoghurt) or others like, olive harvest, Ouzo production (more than seven different large Ouzo productions for export etc.) and also tourism.

It lies very close to Turkey with 6 km in the North of the island as the smallest crossing point.  

The island has a long history of migration as being part of different historical episodes: the Ottoman empire, the Byzantine empire, the Latin empire a.s.o.

Area: 1,633 km²

Population: 86,436

In the closer past of local people for example in the north of the island, they have seen their first “refugee boat” in 1986 with the influx of Kurdish people fleeing Turkey. 

It is a very beautiful diverse and natural island, with beaches, mountains, much sun and very many ancient sights to visit, not to forget the beautiful spirit of the people welcoming you. We recommend everyone to visit and see yourself.

Of course there have been also plenty of locals helping and supporting the many refugees passing through, but currently after many feel as the backyard of European “deals” that are not human to anyone on the island, the atmosphere of helping people in need changes.

Lesvos (also called Lesbos or Mitilini) is a Greek island in the northern Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey. It’s famous as the birthplace of the ancient Greek poet Sappho. Capital city Mitilini is home to the University of the Aegean with about 8 000 students every year. It is the third largest island of Greece. Its inhabitants earn most of their living with farming either sheep-related (meat, milk, cheese, yoghurt) or others like, olive harvest, Ouzo production (more than seven different large Ouzo productions for export etc.) and also tourism.

It lies very close to Turkey with 6 km in the North of the island as the smallest crossing point.  

The island has a long history of migration as being part of different historical episodes: the Ottoman empire, the Byzantine empire, the Latin empire a.s.o.

Area: 1,633 km²

Population: 86,436

In the closer past of local people for example in the north of the island, they have seen their first “refugee boat” in 1986 with the influx of Kurdish people fleeing Turkey. 

It is a very beautiful diverse and natural island, with beaches, mountains, much sun and very many ancient sights to visit, not to forget the beautiful spirit of the people welcoming you. We recommend everyone to visit and see yourself.

Of course there have been also plenty of locals helping and supporting the many refugees passing through, but currently after many feel as the backyard of European “deals” that are not human to anyone on the island, the atmosphere of helping people in need changes.

FACTS ABOUT THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

regarding migrants & refugees

We have no words to describe the devastating miserable situation of refugees and migrants on this island – humans being treated as criminals or even worse just because they don’t owe a European passport. Currently 15 000 refugees and migrants are residing on the island (UNHCR Statistics, September 2019) , approx. 12 000 in the Moria “Reception and Identification Center” built for 3000 persons only. All the services and facilities are way over capacity. Moria Camp feels like a black hole, without security or any safety for anyone that lives there. Thousands of children, women and men are stuck in there. While in 2015 there were daily arrivals of a couple of thousands continuing their journey a couple of days later to the mainland of Greece. Since 21st of March 2016 the island is “closed” (part of the EU-Turkey Deal).  The worst part is probably the uncertain perspectives, the frustration to live on an island of prison, but also the immense stress to find basic medical care, running water or food. Main problems is the immense uncertainty and pressure on the asylum seekers, no one informs them properly. The mental health situation is very bad, as living continues within an “emergency mode”, not knowing when and where to go. – also the always changing legal procedure is a huge loss of control. Daily life routine contains hours of waiting in the line for water, for lunch, for one croissant etc. The main camp is basically run by security forces and leaves no humanity for the people “living” inside.

The systematical political decision to isolate people , this is what the European border regime demonstrates here through denying basic human rights and stuck people in search for safety on an island. 40% of the refugees are children. Many of them under 12 years old. 90% of the migrants arriving on shore are coming from war zones, either from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or the Democratic Republic of Kongo. The crossing from Turkey to Lesvos is very dangerous. Despite the “few” kilometers, the boats are totally unsafe for the amount of people that sit in there and they mostly wear fake life vests. The many women and children never know how to swim and are the first to drown. Every month there is another tragedy of people loosing their life while a usual ferry boat costs just 8 Euros and you cross safely, if you have the right passport in your hands. We have again no words. 

There are though many projects and NGOs and focus of the media worldwide. It is said that 76 NGOs are registered on the island, at least 40 are active to our personal knowledge. An unimaginable number of people have visited and/or tried out their projects for refugees. From large NGOs to small independent volunteers you can find every area of humanitarian aid and political color on this island. If you combine all the donations that go to NGOs probably you could pay a good lawyer, flat and provide food for each and every individual refugee, but this is also part of the humanitarian “business”, and it doesn’t work that way.

To read more about the situation of refugees and migrants on Lesvos see also LINKS

We have no words to describe the devastating miserable situation of refugees and migrants on this island – humans being treated as criminals or even worse just because they don’t owe a European passport. Currently 15 000 refugees and migrants are residing on the island (UNHCR Statistics, September 2019) , approx. 12 000 in the Moria “Reception and Identification Center” built for 3000 persons only. All the services and facilities are way over capacity. Moria Camp feels like a black hole, without security or any safety for anyone that lives there. Thousands of children, women and men are stuck in there. While in 2015 there were daily arrivals of a couple of thousands continuing their journey a couple of days later to the mainland of Greece. Since 21st of March 2016 the island is “closed” (part of the EU-Turkey Deal).  The worst part is probably the uncertain perspectives, the frustration to live on an island of prison, but also the immense stress to find basic medical care, running water or food. Main problems is the immense uncertainty and pressure on the asylum seekers, no one informs them properly. The mental health situation is very bad, as living continues within an “emergency mode”, not knowing when and where to go. – also the always changing legal procedure is a huge loss of control. Daily life routine contains hours of waiting in the line for water, for lunch, for one croissant etc. The main camp is basically run by security forces and leaves no humanity for the people “living” inside.

The systematical political decision to isolate people , this is what the European border regime demonstrates here through denying basic human rights and stuck people in search for safety on an island. 40% of the refugees are children. Many of them under 12 years old. 90% of the migrants arriving on shore are coming from war zones, either from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or the Democratic Republic of Kongo. The crossing from Turkey to Lesvos is very dangerous. Despite the “few” kilometers, the boats are totally unsafe for the amount of people that sit in there and they mostly wear fake life vests. The many women and children never know how to swim and are the first to drown. Every month there is another tragedy of people loosing their life while a usual ferry boat costs just 8 Euros and you cross safely, if you have the right passport in your hands. We have again no words. 

There are though many projects and NGOs and focus of the media worldwide. It is said that 76 NGOs are registered on the island, at least 40 are active to our personal knowledge. An unimaginable number of people have visited and/or tried out their projects for refugees. From large NGOs to small independent volunteers you can find every area of humanitarian aid and political color on this island. If you combine all the donations that go to NGOs probably you could pay a good lawyer, flat and provide food for each and every individual refugee, but this is also part of the humanitarian “business”, and it doesn’t work that way.

To read more about the situation of refugees and migrants on Lesvos see also LINKS

Kontorioutou 45, 81100 Mytilini, Lesbos, Greece
info@borderlinelesvos.org