In brief

Lighthouse Relief’s psychosocial support programmes are based at Ritsona Refugee Camp, a long-term accommodation centre in central Greece, where asylum seekers wait for several years for their asylum to progress.

The regular routine of sports programming has been hugely beneficial, creating a needed structure for participants, for whom daily life is often characterised by waiting for the next step in asylum proceedings.

Problem to be tackled

Ritsona is home to families and individuals – including unaccompanied minors – who experience intense levels of distress. Parents with small children, having made the difficult decision to migrate, and having experienced the extreme dangers of the journey, now live in overwhelmingly close quarters in shipping containers, or ISOboxes, in the remote town of Ritsona.

Many residents wait years for the interviews and paperwork that will decide their futures. They are prone to feelings of frustration and helplessness. These emotions can be passed on to their children, many of whom have already lived difficult and traumatic experiences in their home countries, during their journeys, and in Greece. These children lack the space and means to play and continue to feel unsafe – even for those who do not have a direct experience of conflict. The long-term effects of these challenges have the potential to impact an entire generation of young people.