More than 60.000 people are stuck in Greece. They have escaped the war and misery in their countries and can’t continue further into Europe because the borders are closed. 

The need of physical and emotional healing is apparent within the refugee communities. But at the same time, these families are in critical need of a roof over their heads, basic sanitation facilities and classrooms that help provide children with a safe environment and education for months, years to come.

Together with The World Wide Tribe & Armando Aid, 109 World traveled to Greece with a group of 25 change-makers to learn more about the refugee crisis, to hear the stories of the people behind the headlines and understand better how we can support them back home and become their advocates.

During our one week at the Oinofyta Refugee Camp we also renovated the Armando Aid school, repainting the school and all the classrooms. We installed new floors and some shades on the playground so the school continues to be a nice and safe space for the community to learn and most importantly, for children to express themselves in these extremely challenging times

We are still fundraising for the school, as they need continued support to keep serving the growing refugee community. Here’s the Campaign if you would like to support our work and help us give refugee children a sense of normality and a safe place to learn and freely express themselves until they are given the chance to rebuild their lives and get back on their feet again.

#109CHILDREN

It happened

June 9-14, 2017

OUR JOURNEY TO HELP MAKE THE WORLD MORE HUMAN

The goal was simple: raise awareness and spread the truth about what is really going on with the refugee crisis and how we can support our global brothers & sisters living in refugee camps across the world.

Together with 25 change-makers we fully grasped the occurring refugee crisis and learned what needs to be done by actually experiencing the connection with people behind the headlines, learning about their stories and witnessing the situation they are in. Renovating the Armando Aid School at the Oinofyta Refugee Camp was our message to the community that they are not forgotten, that we stand behind them, that now we understand their situation and will advocate for them.

We left Oinofyta, but our hearts and minds are with them, with the reflections that this refugee crisis is everybody’s problem and each one of us has a personal responsibility to help. Because this is about the rescue of us and our values as well as the rescue of refugees and their lives.

Last but not least, through this trip we were able to raise a considerable amount of funding for the operations of The World Wide Tribe & Armando Aid to continue their work serving the growing refugee community in Greece.

THE JOURNEY

The six days spent with us in Eretria- Greece, are a blend of yoga, cultural experiences and hands-on work together with the refugees living in the Oinofyta Camp located 30 minutes away.

Our days will be spent with The Worldwide Tribe and Armando Aid,  the local grassroots organizations working alongside refugees from Oinofyta to give them a sense of normality that they can depend upon, a safe space to learn and express themselves, and ensure they learn skills – at all levels – that are needed for them to rebuild their lives.

Our hands-on work consisted of:

– Repainting the school: studying in bad shape classrooms does not inspire well-being, happiness or creativity, it is important we create a warm environment to ease the hardships even just a tiny bit.
– Putting up shade covers to prepare the school for the summer: while winters are very cold, summers get extremely hot.
– Painting the classrooms and installing proper floors: again, a joyful environment might not guarantee your safety but it will give you a more positive memory and state of mind.

THE CRISIS

According to the UN Refugee Agency, the arrivals by sea in 2015 to Greece were more than 856,723 and from January 1st of 2016 to November 17th of 2016 the arrivals by sea totaled 171,284. The top nationalities are from Syrian Arab Republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran. From these +1 million refugees, 37% are children.

Reception and identification centers (RIC) on the Aegean islands in Greece continue to face serious challenges with capacity and shelter allocation for those already present on the islands in addition to new arrivals. On the evening of November 9th, 2016 heavy rainfall on the island of Samos affected 1,000 people accommodated at Vathy RIC. With a maximum official capacity of 850, Vathy RIC is dangerously over-strained with 2,000 presently hosted there. Almost half of the residents are living in small camping tents outdoors, with limited access to adequate facilities such as toilets and showers, leaving them exposed to protection and safety risks. Those staying in tents experienced the most loss, when their tents were flooded during the rains leaving them without shelter and with their personal belongings damaged or lost.

What happened to the 1,000 refugees in Vathy is jut one example of many and happens to all the other 1 million refugees living in similar highly critical situation in Greece.

OUR WORK

The World Wide Tribe uses creative storytelling to bring a personal, human perspective to pressing issues that people still remain rather unaware of, while investing in grassroots projects that make a direct difference in the lives of those in need. They have been developing projects geared to supplement and support the needs among refugee communities and are constantly on the lookout for charitable groups with influence to help them with their initiative in Greece and throughout Europe. Currently they are running entirely on goodwill of volunteers. Partnering with 109 World meany being able to spread the word about their work and raise awareness within other communities around the world, gaining access to a team that can help them implement a chosen project successfully as well as to valuable funding for continued and improved refugee support.

109 World therefore organized a campaign aimed to spread awareness about the ongoing refugee crisis, what people can do to help and fundraise for their cause. The campaign peaked with the 109 Greece trip and brought 25 participants that worked hands on with the project for six days.

We stayed on the island of Evia located outside of Athens, Greece. We resided at Negroponte Resort, a beachfront property overlooking the Gulf of Evia while gazing at breathtaking views of the coastline and mountains of Mainland Greece.

We enjoyed our breakfasts and dinners at the hotel, slept comfortably in shared rooms and enjoyed our yoga classes together every morning.

Danny Saucedo

Danny is a Swedish singer and songwriter who competed as one of the top finalists in Idol 2006 — the Swedish version of Idol. He has released three music albums and eleven music singles as a solo artist.

Molly Sandén

Swedish singer – songwriter – entrepreneur. Molly has been one of the most popular artists in Scandinavia for the past few years. And since an early age, she has been recognized for her great and fabulous voice.

Stephanie Birch

“In my everyday life, I’m a play-at-home mama, yoga teacher, life photographer, writer, artist, dark chocolate lover, and a life well-lived. You can find me on my mat teaching with a wide-open heart in Sacramento, CA and online at www.oneOeight.com.”

Daniel Epstein

Daniel is the CEO & Founder of Unreasonable Group. He is passionate about leveraging entrepreneurship for good. In 2013, he received the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the World” award along with Richard Branson & the President of Liberia.