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Self-defense Training for Refugee Women on Lesvos

by Starfish Foundation


"Asylum seekers fleeing war or abuse shouldn't have to hide in their tents to feel safe in Europe" (Eva Cosse, Human Right's Watch). Today, more than 1,300 women stranded in Moria refugee camp are under constant threat of gender-based violence and sexual harassment. Often, these women are forced to hide or avoid going to the bathroom in fear for their own safety. We want to teach 300 refugee women in self-defense so they can learn how to protect themselves today and in the future.

total goal


Approximately 7,000 refugees are stranded on Lesvos. The overcrowded and chaotic conditions in Moria camp, hosting approximately 4,500 people, pose constant threats to the physical and mental health of more than 1,300 refugee women - especially those who are single and/or underage - who reside in the camp. Daily, they are targeted, harassed and intimidated, even when using the toilet and washing facilities. Security arrangements are not sufficient to protect all women in Moria.


We aim to deliver self-defense training to 300 refugee women in Moria, prioritizing single women and unaccompanied minors. Two three-hour sessions will be delivered by professional female instructors, qualified to teach the principles and techniques of self-defense, including self-protection and the basic understanding of violence. This effort would not only empower the refugee women to protect themselves, but also enhance their self-confidence in the hard reality they currently live in

Long-Term Impact

Delivering self-defense training to refugee women stranded on the island would not only reduce the risks to their safety in Moria, but also offer valuable skills that may help them in the future, wherever that might be. In this pilot project of four months, we expect to train 300 women - about 30% of the current female population in the camp.


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Organization Information

Starfish Foundation

Location: Mythimna, Lesvos - Greece
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Melinta Makrosti
Mythimna, Lesvos Greece
Donations: $1,547 raised ($5,000 needed)
Donors: 16 (40 needed)
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