The autumn and winter seasons have been harsh to the Eleonas community with many people living outside in tents and makeshift temporary structures built from wood and tarpaulin. The large team of international and resident volunteers worked extremely hard on a daily basis in distributing hygiene and food items and delivering the 12 daily hours of language classes.
All of the adults and children receiving language classes have had their education disrupted in their lives, in some way during their travels to Greece, and due to COVID-19 restrictions. Project Elea has provided classes for the whole of 2021 enabling access to safe learning spaces for the residents of Eleonas.
Not only did the project provide language classes but also the re-introduction of the Teen Time activity, Women’s group, Men’s group, Conversation club for both Men and women and Little School after the turbulence and difficulties introduced in the community with the COVID-19 restrictions and overcrowding. Every day over 200 residents of the camp had high quality language classes with all 2300 residents receiving weekly hygiene items, clothing, school supplies and dried food donations.
In September 2021 Project Elea team repainted our main school and the clothing distribution container, creating a much more ambient and colourful envirnoment for the residents accessing the project services.
In October 2021, the Project Elea team worked with the IOM to clear the tents and pallets from the football pitch and give it back to the community. These efforts continued in December with the transfer of people from temporary shelters into accommodation containers inside the camp. The vulnerable communities who were living in waterlogged, flooded and cold structures were able to have much better accommodation before the winter cold set in. The transfer of residents into accommodation provided another opportunity for Project Elea’s volunteers to distribute welcome packs and hygiene items to the newly moved families.
In November we celebrated Halloween in the camp. More than 100 children participated in games, face painting, haunted house and a scavenger hunt.
December also saw the build up, preparation and final Christmas party celebrations where 300 children received beautifully prepared education packs and toys from Project Elea’s very own Baba Noel.
The day before the Christmas event the volunteers prepared all of the gifts in the Elea House for the next day. That evening, Project Elea’s storage container burnt down due to a temporary shelter next to it catching fire from badly connected heating units. We lost all of our supplies in one night.
2021 has been one of the most challenging years for the Eleonas Community, with cash cards being cut and people waiting in limbo and living under the national poverty line, we have witnessed residents slowly starving and turning to other means to feed their children. With the support from GlobalGiving and our donors we have been able to maintain some form of stability with hygiene items, dried food and education in an increasingly challenging environment. The infrastructural changes at the end of 2021 have provided a glimmer of hope in the fact that many of the residents who were living outside are now homed and communal spaces are opening up in the camp for future community events and activities. We have hope for 2022, we aim to bring light, events, community led projects and new energy to the community.
Hygiene Item Distribution
Elea House Mural
Clearance of temporary shelters
Deconstruction of shelters
Storage container fire
Preparation of hygiene and food packs