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Jan 15, 2019

Ladies' night - dancing into the new year!

Hello everyone!

First of all, we would like to wish you a happy, healthy, loving, and peaceful New Year!

We celebrated the holidays on Lesvos with the residents of Kara Tepe and the Olive Grove, as well as the local Greek people. It was wonderful to see the two communities come together like this, and it has given us lots of energy and motivation to continue our work in 2019! 

In the final months of 2018, many refugees were transferred from the camps on Lesvos to the mainland of Greece, whilst at the same time many new people arrived by boat from Turkey. This is still the case now, which means that the makeup of the camps constantly changes. With our Syrian Women Empowerment Program then, we are trying to give the women of Kara Tepe, both those that have just arrived and the ones who have been a familiar face for a long time, a sense of continuance and security. Our community centre provides them with a safe space, to relax, to laugh, to spend time with each other, and to learn new skills. 

At the moment, we organise several activities specifically for women. There are women’s computer classes and girls’ football trainings (with female residents of Kara Tepe as their trainers/coaches). But our favourite evening of the week is Wednesday, when we hold a ladies’ night. On ladies’ night, we invite all the women from the camp to the community centre and play songs from their home countries, in Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, and English. Some just watch and listen, others sing along, but most women end up dancing! 

The ladies’ night is very special and important to us. It is a way to reach the women who are unlikely to join our other programs, because they feel uncomfortable being in a room together with men or do not speak English. It also breaks down the language barrier which often separates the women; for one song, we all understand each other. Last Wednesday evening for example, an Afghani grandmother danced together with her granddaughter to the Dutch song ‘Leef’ by André Hazes. This is the song we end every ladies’ night with, and by now, almost every woman in Kara Tepe knows it!

It is with your donations that we can keep these activities running, so on behalf of us and all the women taking part in the Syrian Women Empowerment Program, thank you! 

Team Movement on the Ground

Sep 24, 2018

Preparing for the winter months...

Hi everyone!

We would like to provide you firstly with the current situation we are facing: 

Kara Tepe is still housing a maximum capacity of 1250 refugees, of whom are the most vulnerable on the island such as sick, elderly, familes, women and children. 

Despite operating at full capacity, the situation on Kara Tepe is considerably under control in the sense that there are minimum incidents or tensions, in comparison to other camps on the island. In regards to our Syrian Women Empowerment program, we have been seeing a high rotation of women coming and going on the camp. Therefore, our program is something in which the activities are continuously being introduced to new women on the camp. This is not the case for all women of course... as we do see that for several there has been a strong element of continuity for women to be able to develop their skills throughout several months at a time. Our founder would like to quote a special moment, where she found two women arguing over a recipie in the community kitchens:

"When little normal things happen in the middle of a crisis, they are like diamonds."

Moria camp on the other hand, is a camp neaby with a capacity of roughly 2300 people. This camp actually hosts over 8000 people which is an all time high. The siutation there is extremely dire, with riots, mental health issues, lack of basic needs and by no means are people provided with a dignified environment to live in. We are looking to expand our project on Giving Solar powered electricity to families to the OLIVE GROVE which is a subsection of Moria camp. This area hosts mostly men, however we are slowly gathering together a small community of women with whom we would be able to expand our Syrian Women Empowerment Program.

With gratitude for your support,

Team Movement on The Ground

Jun 26, 2018

Celebratory time & new sports element!

Hi everyone!

Hope this update finds you all doing well. 

I am happy to share with you the updates on our Syrian Women Empowerment Program on Kara Tepe Camp on Lesvos. 

We have had an eventful recent weeks with ramadan, the 4 week celebration of the holy month, the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which strict fasting is observed from dawn to sunset. We gathered the ladies together before this celebration to make a plan for celebrations, cooking events for throughout the month. They were very enthusiastic to celebrate this holy month in the similar ways they have always done so at home, and to be able to cook for their families and neighbours. We had 4 weeks of cooking and distribution of food in the evening to the isoboxes. 

In addition, we have also been having nutritional cooking classes to raise the awareness of health and nutrition in the cooking. Lastly, we also implemented "mother-daughter soccer". This has been a super fun weekly event of women coming together with their daughters to play some soccer together at a nearby soccer field. This is great sports educaion, great to boost emotional state, energy, and health. In addition, its a great time and space for women to join together in a sport to play and forget about their current situation. We have seen this be a great success.

With almost 12 months havinig passed, we have also seen a complete change of community members, with women coming and going with their familes. Therefore we hope that these woman have been able to take what they have learnt onto their new journeys. 

With best wishes on behalf of the team on Lesvos

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