Samos Volunteers is an independent group of volunteers who initially came together in the autumn of 2015 in response to the refugee crisis. Their objective is to ensure a basic degree of dignity for the island’s refugee population. They endeavour to do this through the distribution of non-food items, systematically identifying and fulfilling the needs of new arrivals and vulnerable people, and sustaining educational and recreational activities for both children and adults.
Volunteers carry out a assessment by making their way around the camp over a period of several weeks, evaluating the needs of the refugees in their family groups or individually. They are brought to the distribution cabin to receive clothing and hygiene products where we, along with a few refugee volunteers from the camp, provide supplies.
Another major objective of Samos Volunteers is to provide education and emotional support, when necessary, to the refugees in the camp. Most refugees have been on the island for several months with no opportunities for formal study or work. To combat pervasive listlessness and gaps in education, they collaborate with refugee teachers to provide classes in English, German, Arabic and Farsi. Monetary donations are used to equip teachers and their students with textbooks, notebooks, and stationery. They also run a library that is stocked with donated Arabic, Urdu, English and Farsi books. In addition, they run a variety of recreational activities in the camp and shelters for unaccompanied minors as well as vulnerable families. These change over time, ranging from swimming lessons for women and kite flying with teenagers to chess tournaments and football matches. Funding for these activities is imperative for the improvement of the day to day lives of the people who live in the camp and shelters in Samos.