Lighthouse Relief runs a pilot programme, starting in September 2018, offering daily activities in a refugee camp in Greece, using the power of football and tennis to build team spirit, to create mentorship building capacities, to partner with local Greek sports associations; furthermore, instructors are going to train the Resident Volunteers from Ritsona camp, who would assist them – as translators – and potentially also help them acquire a new vocation or skill which could possibly assist them in the future.
Problem to be tackled
Lighthouse Relief’s objective specifically with this project is to continue and advance on-going psychosocial support by providing a structured opportunity for peer to peer support, social interaction, learning and play to children and youth living in the Ritsona camp.
Lighthouse Relief is a registered NGO.
In autumn 2015, the operational context in Greece was characterised by thousands of refugees crossing the Aegean Sea and landing on Lesvos island every day. Its operational focus was to provide emergency assistance to those arriving from Turkey. Over the past years the activities have evolved. Since 2016, the initiative started assisting vulnerable groups such as children and youth in the refugee camp of Ritsona, located approximately 70km from Athens. The mission there is to provide psychosocial support to youth and children in a sustainable, dignified, respectful and empowering manner. Presently, at the Ritsona refugee camp Lighthouse Relief is running two programmes:
a) The Child Friendly Space: a space for informal educational and learning opportunities through arts, crafts and sport activities and
b) Youth Engagement Space: a youth – led safe space for life skills training sessions and workshops as well as informal educational opportunities through sport, music and arts.
Beneficiaries are children, unaccompanied and separated minors, youth and young adults including young parents, holding refugees status and residing at the Ritsona camp which is administered by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The pilot programme is working with 150 to 200 children per week, 35% girls, 65% boys, aged 4-16; all residents of the camp of relevant ages are eligible and encouraged to participate daily.
Actually, most recipients of Lighthouse Relief’s programmes originate from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
With the support of The SOL Foundation Lighthouse Relief will be able to expand, extend and deepen their impact in their refugee programmes by mainly adding two sport programmes at the Ritsona Long Term Accommodation Centre.
Lighthouse Relief was born on the Greek island of Lesvos in September 2015, at a time when thousands of refugees were arriving by rubber dinghies. Its founders met as independent humanitarian volunteers and came together under the name Lighthouse Relief to provide structured emergency response to arrivals urgently in need of support.
Lighthouse Relief’s mission is to provide a dignified, respectful and empowering humanitarian response, with a focus on supporting vulnerable groups like women, children and youth – for the benefit of refugees in Greece, the organisation itself is based in Sweden.