Serving at the Centre for Refugee Women & Children
*Minimum two weeks for individual volunteers / one week for groups*
1. What to Expect
The Centre for Refugee Women & Children is located right outside Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos – a crisis area where more than 8000 refugees live. The camp lacks the basic structure to accommodate so many people, which forces individuals, families and children to live in extremely challenging conditions – click here for photos.
The Centre for Refugee Women & Children was established in 2018 by our partner organisation Gateways2Life in response to the lack of shower and laundry facilities for the women and children living in Moria Camp, as well as to provide a loving environment where hospitality, educational and recreational activities could be offered. In 2019, with the view to join forces and expand our efforts to serve the refugees, an alliance was formed between Gateways2Life and All4Aid. As part of that arrangement, Gateways2Life will be focusing on replicating the model and establishing similar refugee centres in additional locations where there is much need. In turn, All4Aid will be in charge of handling the day-to-day operations of the centre on Lesvos, with the key support of two Brazilian partner organisations: Junta de Missões Mundiais and Igreja Batista Capital em Brasília.
At the Centre on Lesvos we currently provide the following services:
- 10 safe warm showers for use by women and children (girls any age / boys under 6);
- A laundry facility with 9 washing machines where women can wash their clothes;
- A distribution centre providing items of basic need (diapers, wipes, feminine hygiene products, etc.);
- A large hospitality area where our guests are served tea, take part in activities, receive manicures/pedicures/hairstyling;
- A Children’s Corner where our young guests can play;
- A baby bathing area where mothers can bathe their infants in a warm, safe environment;
- And coming soon, two classrooms which will be used to expand our educational and recreational activities for children.
The model developed for our work at the centre is simple, but not necessarily easy. There are language barriers and cultural differences. The people we serve have been through all sorts of ordeals. They are still dealing with it all and they all process their experiences in different ways. As a consequence, some will respond to us and our services with love and gratitude. A few others may appear ungrateful, as if they are entitled to our services. Our calling, however, remains the same, to show love to all and to serve them as best as we can.
2. What Will You Do
You will support the centre’s operations in any necessary way, as requested by the centre’s manager and coordinators. You will perform tasks such as:
- Welcome refugee women and children, serve them tea, provide them with hospitality;
- Provide child care for our younger guests while their moms take shower and do their laundry;
- Operate the shower system and run the laundry facilities;
- Sort out and help distribute non-food items (diapers, wipes, feminine hygiene products, etc.);
- Provide and support any special activities in accordance to your gifts, such as craft sessions for women, beauty services (manicure/pedicure/hairstyling) music lessons, clowning, children’s educational and recreational programmes, etc.
- You may also be asked to offer support to our work inside Moria Refugee Camp (e.g.: helping with distribution of food, helping to set up tents, etc.)
As a short-term volunteer (serving up to a month) you will serve 6 days per week, 8 hours per day. Mid and long-term volunteers will serve 5 days per week, 8 hours per day. You will work alongside a wonderful team of people who have the same heart to serve those in need. You will be able to meet and talk to refugees, maybe even be invited into their tents for tea, and have the opportunity to see their life in camp.
3. The Volunteers We Need
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, speak good English, be financially independent (able to cover their own costs for travel, accommodation and meals) and display the following characteristics:
Team Player: working well with others and thinking more of the team’s good than of personal preference;
Flexible: willing to make adjustments – and have adjustments made for them – joyfully;
Teachable: open to learn and be taught new things with a positive and responsive attitude;
Compassionate: caring deeply in a tangible way for the needs of those around them;
Respectful: showing dignity to those whom they serve and those whom they serve with;
Encouraging: intentionally uplifting and building up those around them with their words and actions.
Please note: while female volunteers will have a full experience serving at the centre, male volunteers will be quite restricted to specific areas and tasks. That is simply so that our female refugee guests do not feel uncomfortable (e.g.: bumping on male volunteers without their head covering as they leave the shower room).
4. Financial Contribution
100 EUR for short-term volunteers (serving up to one month)
150 EUR for mid-term volunteers (serving up to three months)
Long-term volunteers serving for more than three months and raising personal support are encouraged to give a monthly donation of 10% of their raised support / income.
Please note: All4Aid does not demand a payment from those serving with us. We simply request volunteers serving with us to make a donation to All4Aid, with such funds being utilised to help cover the costs of the project where the volunteer will be working and for the direct benefit of the refugees we will serve together.
5. Your Flights
Volunteers should make their own arrangements of flights to Lesvos (Mytilene Airport).
Volunteers should make their own arrangements for accommodation. We recommend Victoria & Aella Studios in Panagiouda, a village located 5 minutes drive from the camp/centre. Each studio has its own bathroom with towels and hairdryer available for guests. The studios are fitted with air conditioner / heating, oven, stovetop, kitchenware, kettle, washing machine and a fridge. We can give you a direct contact to the owner for a special price for All4Aid volunteers.
7. Local Transportation
Volunteers are responsible to organise their own transportation within the island. The use of public transport is NOT recommended as it is very unreliable. Those who have a driver’s license and would like to be more independent, may want to rent a car. Those who do not have a driver’s license and/or want to save money, may want to take a taxi from the airport to the accommodation and then participate in the costs of car sharing with our long term workers to ride to/from work each day (4 € per day).
Volunteers are responsible to organise their own meals.
Ready to apply? Click on the link below to fill out the application form.
Still have questions? Please, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to answer you, as you consider this opportunity to serve as a volunteer in Lesvos.