Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos

by Starfish Foundation
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos
Self-Defense and Yoga for Refugee Women on Lesvos

Tomorrow, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are kicking off the first session of our Empowerment Self-Defense class for single women living in Moria camp!

This past week, our team, joined by both French and Arabic translators, went inside the secure women’s section to gauge interest and start registrations. And the response was overwhelming. We quickly found ourselves surrounded by eager participants. And as each young woman learned about the class subject they also ran to grab friends and roommates. In less than an hour, we had filled (in some cases, over-filled) each of the three sessions. And unfortunately, we even had to turn people away.

We also were able to team up with Iliaktida, the organization responsible for unaccompanied minors. And we think these young girls, so far from their families, and among the most vulnerable on the island, will truly benefit from the skills they learn.

These are women from countries all over Africa and the Middle East – all who are going to learn to live safer, more secure lives and carry themselves with confidence. After their unimaginable journey to arrive in Europe, and the dangerous, tenuous situation they live in now, we want to provide them the skills they will need to not only protect themselves physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

We are all looking forward to a strong, successful week.

We are also looking forward to making this program a regular staple of our work. Turning people away from this program is something that we never want to have to do again. When we started with this idea, we knew the need was great, and now that we know the interest is just as great – we want to be able to provide this necessary skillset to as many women as possible.

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First and foremost, we would like to apologize for the delay in updating our progress on this project. The situation on the ground changes so rapidly that often emergencies and political changes force our priorities to shift temporarily. 

However, we have great news!

We have secured a location for the women’s protection program and we’ve invested in having a new and proper floor installed. Fortunately, this site is already home to another project that serves solely women so their privacy and safety will be ensured. We have also found a sport educator that is based here on Lesvos that will oversee the program and we are in the process of finding an appropriate instructor for this delicate classroom environment.

We are looking forward to getting this project running and we will keep you updated as the last details are finalized!

As always, you can follow our activities and ongoing projects on Starfish Foundation's Facebook page.

Thank you once again,

Starfish Foundation.

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Dear donors,

It has been a while since we have last communicated and updated you on the status of the Self-Defense training for refugee women on Lesvos. 

During the last two months, our team has worked hard to maximize the resources and funding available by partnering and collaborating with other organizations on the island, who could support the project in any way - by offering a free training space, transportation, etc. We understand that according to our last communication and our original schedule, the training should have started in May, but we assumed necessary to maximize as much as we could the impact of the project, therefore we decided to delay it.

We would like to finally announce that we will be starting the project the next month, July 2018!

We will keep you updated during the project, but meanwhile, follow our activities on Facebook (

Thank you once again,

Starfish Foundation.  


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Dear friends,

Three weeks have passed since the beginning of our crowdfunding campaign aiming to bring self-defence training to refugee women on Lesvos, Greece. In the name of all the staff and volunteers at Starfish Foundation, I would like to thank you for your contribution to this project.  With your help, we've raised more than US$5,400. We keep going on, engaging our networks and partners to bring this project alive through this crowdfunding campaign. The more money we raise, the more refugee women we will be able to train in self-defence. 

As many of you know, the refugee crisis on Lesvos is far from over. Today, there are more than 7,700 refugees stranded on Lesvos, and more than 5,500 in Moria alone. Boats and dingies arrive almost every day on our shores bringing dozens, sometimes hundreds of refugees fleeing from war and persecution. The crisis continues, and we are expecting this coming summer to be, unfortunately, busy. 

We committed ourselves to bring support to the vulnerable single women and teenage girls stranded in Moria through this self-defence programme. Thanks to individuals, such as yourselves, and organizations from Lesvos, we are one step closer to bringing this project to life in the upcoming months. With the current raised funds and support from local partners - who offered transportation and a training venue - we will be able to train more than 160 women during the months of May and June of 2018. 

Meanwhile, we will continue our efforts to raise funds and expand the duration and reach of this initiative. 

Thank You,

Melinda McRostie - Starfish Foundation


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Organization Information

Starfish Foundation

Location: Mytilene, Lesvos - Greece
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @starfishlesvos
Project Leader:
Melinda McRostie
Mythimna , Lesvos Greece

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