Since 2016, our inviting cluster of cheerfully decorated ISO containers in Ritsona refugee camp stands as a beacon of hope and light amidst harsh surroundings. As safe spaces to gather, play, and learn, they offer a place where children can be children and the whole community can partake in activities to release stress and regain a semblance of normalcy. The psychosocial support we provide has become even more crucial to residents' well-being as conditions have deteriorated over the past year.
Over the past year, government support for refugees and asylum seekers - including food and cash support - has been cut. Currently, only 1,000 out of 2,600 Ritsona residents receive food. At the same time, policy changes have made it more difficult to claim asylum, leaving people without any access to services. Moreover, the camp population has become more vulnerable as more unaccompanied children, single mothers, survivors of gender violence, and people who identify as LGBTQI+ have arrived.
Lighthouse Relief offers an early childhood development programme for 3-5 year olds, a community centre where camp residents can drop by to take part in a jam session, play foosball or relax over a cup of tea, and a sports programme for school-aged children. We also provide English classes and workshops from woodworking to photography to CPR. Volunteers from the Ritsona community are integral to running all of our programmes and receive special training and support.
Lighthouse Relief works to foster a humane, supportive environment where refugees can access opportunities and hope for the future. Beyond offering opportunities for creative self-expression, learning new skills, and sports, the activities we offer in Ritsona camp provide vital support for psychosocial well-being in a highly stressful environment. They help prepare refugees for eventual integration into their host societies in a manner that is accountable and culturally sensitive.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).