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Moria Refugee Camp - Arts Project

$300 of $2,500 goal

Raised by 6 people in 5 months
Lesvos, Greece - once famous for the ancient Greek female poet Sappho, the island is now home to the Moria Camp - the largest refugee camp in Europe. Initially built as a temporary transition post for refugees escaping war, unrest and other tragic circumstances back in their home countries, Moria has now become permanent living quarters for over 8,500 people (it was designed for only 3,000) ever since the EU largely closed its borders to them in March 2016.

Adam and I arrived here on October 16th with the intention of organizing a community-based art project for the camp residents here who have mostly been forgotten, and pushed out of the world’s collective consciousness. Our goal is to the use the funds raised here to run a series of arts workshops and to paint murals throughout the camp, working with all interested participants regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or nationality.

Hearing about the deplorable sanitary conditions and overwhelming basic unmet needs of the population here, we questioned whether an arts initiative would be appropriate or well received. It was only after we met with one of our partners on the ground, Boat Refugee Foundation (BRF), that we realized just how crucial the psycho-social support they provide in the camp is. BRF has been working to address the mental health issues and deep psychological traumas that have led an alarmingly large numbers of adolescents and adults in the camp to attempt suicide, attracting the recent attention of the international media. It is our sincere hope that through bringing people together to create art, a powerful platform for healing can take shape.

This initiative is partly inspired by a previous project that Adam worked in the Balukhali Camp in Bangladesh where 900,000 Rohingya refugees live. This project was achieved in partnership with Artolution, an international NGO which has over ten years of experience facilitating community-based arts programs with marginalized populations in high-conflict areas and refugee camps around the world. Through their work they prove that art can touch people’s lives in special ways and can make a profound impact. One year later, the Bangladesh arts program lives on: they now employ ten teachers full-time from the local community (five men and five women) who carry on teaching and engaging the local community through art.

We hope that similarly, this project will also help to restore a sense of hope, and bring the Moria community closer together. Please help us achieve this goal and create a positive change in the lives of many by making a donation. We hope that with your support, we can start something beautiful that lives on and helps to heal the community living here that has suffered so much.

Sincerely,
Izabela Targosz
Adam Ostaszewski


About Artolution
https://www.artolution.org/

Artolution is a community-based public art organization that seeks to ignite positive social change through participatory and collaborative art making. Their projects bring together children, families, local artists, educators and community groups. Their main objective is to address critical issues related to armed conflict, trauma and social marginalization by cultivating sustainable global initiatives that promote reconciliation, healing and resilience. Artolution projects engage youth and communities that have faced social exclusion and trauma, including refugees, street youth, the incarcerated, people with physical and mental disabilities, and young people living in areas of violent conflict or extreme poverty. Founded in 2009, Artolution has facilitated arts programs in over 30 countries across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, North America, Europe, Australasia and South Asia.


About Boat Refugee Foundation
https://bootvluchteling.nl/en/

The Boat Refugee Foundation strives to make a difference in places that need it the most. Through their team of volunteers they offer specific, practical help to desperate and vulnerable people on the run. Founded in 2015, BRF tries to help the thousands of refugees who are stuck in the overcrowded Moria camp on Lesvos. To read more about the organization’s mission and how they changed their focus from boat rescue operations back when they first arrived on the island in 2015 to providing psycho-social support (PSS) and medical support, you can see:
https://bootvluchteling.nl/en/missions/field-team


About the Moria Refugee Camp Crisis

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/02/world/europe/greece-lesbos-moria-refugees.html
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-europe-45271194
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/03/trauma-runs-deep-for-children-at-dire-lesbos-camp-moria


About Adam & Izabela

Adam and Izabela are two independent volunteers from the United States and Poland, respectively. They have been traveling all over the world by bicycle over the past two years, stopping to do meaningful volunteer projects along the way - from volunteering with the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity organization to help care for the poor and sick in Calcutta, India and Tirana, Albania, to spending three months organizing various humanitarian aid projects in the Rohingya Refugee Camp in Bangladesh, to being part of the Global Himalayan Expedition team installing solar-powered microgrids lighting up rural villages deep in the north Indian Himalayas.
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$300 of $2,500 goal

Raised by 6 people in 5 months
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