Lighthouse Relief (Refugee support) Child Friendly Space, Ritsona camp, Greece
In 2015, most asylum seekers fleeing to Europe were single men. In early 2016 this balance shifted, with women and children (including unaccompanied minors) accounting for roughly 57% of asylum seekers, adding to the highest level of refugee children since World War II. This came at the worst possible time, just as European nations were barring their doors and 50,000 refugees were trapped in near-bankrupt Greece, facing deportation.
In response the Mandala Trust was delighted to support the wonderful work of Lighthouse Relief in the Ritsona camp, near Athens, Greece.
Through an emergency appeal the Mandala Trust was able to support a child-friendly space run by independent volunteers and the refugee communities themselves, providing love, play, and a variety of educational activities for the children, including a mother and baby centre – a warm, clean and relaxed sanctuary where advice, essential supplies and targeted food distribution is provided. On a practical level, an industrial-sized fridge for the children’s milk, food items and medicines was also purchased.
Additional funds raised by a sponsored all-night meditation vigil held at Gaia House in Devon have been used for children’s clothing, basic toiletries and other essential non-food items.