Apr 26, 2019

Final Project Report

The disastrous fires that hit Attica's coastal region in July 2018 have left the area devastated and its population in deep shock. With many lives lost and homes destroyed, communal life has come to a total standstill, Echo100Plus in collaboration with Desmos Non-profit Foundation has completed the reconstruction and furnishing of playgrounds in the afflicted municipalities that were either completely destroyed or severely affected by the fires.

In the context of urban and regional public space, playgrounds are focal points of community life. They provide vital spaces for children to meet, play, exercise, and simply have fun. With children at their centre, neighbourhoods and communities form and bond in and around playgrounds. As the afflicted communities are in immediate need of some positive elements, the reconstruction of playgrounds is a strong symbol of the area's regeneration, especially as we approach the summer months.  

As part of the entire project in the area, through the funds raised for the area the following goods and resources have been donated:

  • Respiratory face masks to volunteers and rescue workers operating and/or living in the afflicted area. In total, 308 masks with 616 filters costing approx.  €5,000
  • Fuel to volunteers of the Social Services Dept of Marathonas Municipality, that covered transfer expenses, aid relief and food provision to afflicted households houses. The total budget dispensed €3,000.
  • Long-life nutritional products donated to the Holy Ascension Church in Rafina, and the local soup kitchen
  • 4 professional refrigerators to the Social Grocery and Social Pharmacy of Marathonas Municipality, and the local branch of  “The Smile of the Child” organization
  • 150 freshly-cooked whole meals to Marathonas Municipality’s Social Services

Besides essential goods we have offered:

  • 5 laptops to the Lyreio Children’s Institution, to replace laptops destroyed by the wildfire, together with the facilities of the Institution
  • Household electrical appliances (kitchens, refrigerators, dishwashers, TVs and small appliances) for the afflicted families and households that have been forced to find new homes or furnish their homes in the area

We thank you for your trust and support to reverse the damages of this tragedy, and we are proud of the help that we were able to provide together. 

Feb 11, 2019

WE HAVE STARTED WORK!

On July 23rd, 2018, wildfire erupted in the Southern Penteli area, afflicting the Rafina, Neos Voutzas and Mati areas, leaving behind 100 casualties and burning through burning 5.000.000 square meters of residential and forest land. 

Since the first hours of the wildfires aftermath, we have been present in the area participating in NGO and residents’ networks, communicating closely with municipal and local authorities, and providing help ad hoc, while evaluating long-term impact projects that contribute to the area’s recovery.

For this project we are collaborating with Desmos Non-Profit Foundation, a Greek organization that guarantees: 

  • Commitment to transparency, accountability and professionalism
  • Ability to identify and deliver a project that provides long-term support to children, families and local communities healing from the tragic fires
  • Efficiency, in order to create maximum social value

Placing children and families at the core of our project’s scope, the playgrounds’ reconstruction in the burnt areas was identified as the best way to help the community heal. Therefore, we have designed a project that will completely reconstruct or renovate playgrounds that have been completely burnt down or have been rendered unsafe for use. 

The East Attica project, thanks to your valuable support, will produce at least 4 state-of-the-art playgrounds in the Marathon municipality, fully compliant with EU safety and quality standards, that feature playground equipment accessible by all children, including those with disabilities, safety tiles, energy-saving solar panel lighting, faucet, and benches, as well as a reforested landscape. 

Our project has begun with the reconstruction of the first playground in N. Voutzas and is expected to be completed by June 2019.  

 

Feb 6, 2019

ALL HANDS ON DECK!

Global Giving Report: The Echo-HUB: Preparing Refugees for Integration

 

All Hands on Deck!

The last months were extremely busy at the HUB. For the first time ever, we had to stop registering new students as the classrooms were overflowing, due to an overwhelming demand for our language classes and recreational activities from many young Palestinians who arrived from Gaza.

Since the beginning of this year, we witnessed an immense increase in new refugee arrivals on the Greek islands. 101 boats attempted the trip to the Greek islands, carrying a total of 3776 people. Fifty-one boats completed the trip which brought 1839 people onto the Greek islands. The rest in the remaining 50 boats (1937 people), were arrested by the Turkish Coast guard and Police.

On Leros the refugee population is currently at 1176 people, and all reception facilities have reached maximum capacity. The Camp management resorted to setting up tents to accommodate the additional people. The living conditions for the residents are precarious, and there is no indication that the situation will improve. When the weather is good, the boats keep arriving.

HUB news:
We had very busy weeks leading up to Christmas. Apart from our regular schedule, we completed work on the second edition of ‘ZINE’: our intercultural art and literature magazine created by residents and volunteers which we published recently. Our students and volunteers participated in the ‘Santa Charity Run’ to raise funds for the ‘Blood Donor Society’ of Leros, which was an opportunity to give back to the local community.

During the holidays we closed down the HUB for a radical facelift, executed and funded by our coordinators and supported by a strong team. We now have two classrooms equipped with projectors, whiteboards and sound systems, which facilitates teaching and makes learning so much more fun!

We welcomed Konrad from ‘Bunt kickt Gut’ – a German NGO specialised in integration through street football – who held a football workshop on Leros for the young men from camp. It was a huge success and a welcome distraction from the monotonous camp life.

We also adjusted our schedule to accommodate the maximum number of students and improved our English curriculum. We see fantastic progress in our students’ language skills, moving upwards from level to level. We have a local volunteer who runs French language classes, and we are about to reintroduce Greek language courses to our curriculum.

We purchased a second-hand industrial sewing machine for our tailoring-workshop, and we are creating backpacks from recycled sails. Our barber workshop is a huge success, run by professionals from the refugee community. IT, Football, Arts and Crafts, Film and other activities remain very popular. We also run weekly CV workshops to prepare our students for the job market.

We are incredibly grateful to all our wonderful volunteers, who are so passionate and hardworking and create a friendly and safe environment at the HUB that promotes learning and creativity. And, last but not least a huge THANK YOU to all our donors and to Global Giving, without whom none of this would be possible.

 
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