Public Hygiene Laundry for Moria Refugee Camp

The Lava Project is a Public Hygiene and Medical Support laundry facility for Moria refugee camp on Lesvos.

Lesvos is one of 5 Greek islands where Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) were established for refugees entering Europe from Turkey seeking shelter from war, violence and persecution in their home countries.

People arriving on Lesvos have to stay in Moria often for several years while they go through the lengthy and complex asylum application process.

Moria is the biggest refugee camp in Europe with a built capacity of 4,000 it now has 21,000 people living in the camp and camping in neighboring olive groves. One third of these people are children and many of them are unaccompanied by parents.  By any comparison Moria is the worst refugee camp in Europe.

The situation in the camp is dramatic, inhumane and the treatment of people violates international and EU standards (Human Rights Watch). The camp has insufficient shelter with most people living in makeshift plastic tents which they have built themselves. There is inadequate security, lack of basic health care (the clinics are overwhelmed), poor and inadequate sanitation with sometimes hundreds of people having to share one toilet or one shower.

There is a lack or complete absence of electricity and people are fed with very poor quality food for which they have to queue for hours. There are no facilities for laundry in the camp.

As it is almost impossible to wash clothes and bedding – bed bugs and scabies are widespread. This encourages the spread of many other diseases.

The Lava Project was founded in June 2019 by volunteers to try to fill this gap in humanitarian aid left by the authorities and larger NGOs.

In the first phase of the project we concentrated on the most vulnerable people – single mothers with young babies, unaccompanied children, single women and scabies medical cases. We are cooperating with medical clinics Medecins Sans Frontieres, Kelpno and Kitrinos Healthcare and NGO’s Help International and Euro Relief. Also we provide laundry services for secured area’s in the camp where unaccompanied minors and children live.

At the moment we are washing around 1500 bags of clothes a month. When we get to full capacity we will wash 3500-4000 bags a month. As well as volunteers we involve people from the camp in the daily work who mainly operate the laundry. This helps their physical and mental health while they endure the long wait in Moria.

Today the situation in Moria has become more dire. With the fear of Covid 19 arriving the movement of the people is further restricted and the poor sanitation and overcrowded conditions in Moria make it almost impossible to observe the necessary social distancing and hygiene precautions practiced everywhere else.

Covid 19 has not arrived in Moria yet but if it does it will be an absolute disaster with so many fragile people living so close together.

Despite the many restrictions The Lava Project is continuing and is currently operational trying to do as much as possible and joining particular efforts to try to keep Covid 19 out of Moria

With many thanks to those who have contributed so far and especially Help Refugees who have funded all the infrastructure costs and most of the initial phase of equipment. We have also been helped by large donations from Hope and Aid Direct, Nada Nord, Humanity Now and anonymous private donors who we also thank.

We have some running costs covered but still need appx. 3/4,000euros a month for what isn't covered - our energy costs alone will soon exceed €2,000 a month.

We are grateful for your support helping us continue to make a difference for the people caught up in this miserable situation.


Many thanks - Ross     all these masks are washed and heat treated by us before issuing 


This is the beginning - there are more partners to come on board as we expand our service - HELP we need you !

Last winter

September 2019 Olive Grove North is outside the camp with very few facilities but around 8,000 people and increasing every day. This is one of only 2 wash pads for all these people.

We need 2 more washing machines here! 4 more will go next to this rack  -  PLEASE HELP! - Ok we have these now

Big gas dryer donated by Hope and Aid Direct.  Another one is on its way and we need to contribute to the costs! - Installed now

4 Dryers with folding space above, 4 more are planned  behind these. - Now there and waiting to connect the extraction system.

New exhaust system - I love this stuff!

Clean laundry for Moria

In the beginning - April 2019

Getting there- October 2019 

Making great progress - from the new front door in December2019

Inside shot December 2019

Every laundry needs a guard dog

This is Snowy

Donations (277)

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  • Mohamed Laher
    • £25 
    • 2 yrs
  • jill bonney
    • £50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Dennis Smith
    • £100 
    • 2 yrs
  • sarah mckusick
    • £100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • £150 
    • 2 yrs
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