9 November 2016

Over one million migrants and refugees  crossed European shores  in 2015. More than half of them landed on the Greek island of Lesvos, or Mytilene in Greek, which has commanded international attention over the last year. There are currently about 6,000 refugees living between the locally run camp of Kara Tepe, as well as the national government’s camp Moria.


In response to this crisis, the Dutch NGO "Movement On The Ground" (MOTG) was spontaneously established by volunteers in autumn 2015. MOTG started out by providing structural support to registration camps on Lesvos as well as  direct aid to refugees in the form of clothing, blankets, food and medical equipment. Over the last year, however, MOTG has shifted its focus towards maintaining higher standards of living at refugee camps and ultimately making the asylum waiting process more humane, which they express in their slogan, "from camp to campUS".


 Most residents of Lesvos’ camps are parents and children from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Considering the complicated and slow-moving asylum process, in combination with other legal matters, most asylum seekers are expected to remain on the island for months or, in some cases, years. This is a particular issue for children who cannot attend regular school and are thus faced with a lack of educational opportunities. As such, MOTG decided to implement the football3 methodology in Lesvos, aiming to facilitate community development between the camps and the local community.


As a result, a football3 workshop took place over   from October 11-13 in the Kara Tepe camp. Run by the international NGO PLAY!YA based in Berlin, in cooperations with streetfootballworld, the workshop included informational sessions on football3’s idea and methodology, followed by a hands-on training where trainees focused particularly on their roles as mediators. MOTG staff, local football coaches from club Aiolokos Mytilene, as well as young residents of the refugee community in Greece came together to share experiences and discuss ideas on how to improve the situation in Lesvos through the implementation of football3. As such, training sessions will now be regularly held for the refugee children of Greece.

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