LM Village, Greece

27/04/17

The community here is so isolated they have very little support and opportunities.

In 2016, when Greece was looking for sites to settle refugees trapped there, the local Syrian-born mayor offered a derelict holiday resort about 5 miles north of the port of Kyllini. While it is right on the beach with palm trees, holiday homes and some leisure facilities it had fallen into severe disrepair. The conditions were poor and 2 years later, it is still very run-down.

The main difficulty facing the 250 Syrians living on this small camp is the distance from any key services. As a result, there is very little support from other agencies, there are no local shops so difficult and costly for them to get supplies, very expensive for them to  and its isolation adds to their sense of abandonment.

Just 2 weeks after visiting LM Village in April 2017, we set up a mini-market there.

Our shop stocks fruit, vegetables and Syrian staples so that all the families on the camp can choose what they need, right on their doorstep. Not only that, we buy everything locally so we can also support Greece. Here is our grocer with co-ordinator Sue.

It’s clear how our free mini-market helps: it takes an hour to walk to the nearest shop. It’s expensive with very little choice. Then there is the walk back with all the supplies. So for 6 months we ran a weekly bus service to the local market.

We also fund important celebrations, for example by buying great food and supplies for Eid. People need a taste of home and the opportunity to have a bit of normality.

This video shows what volunteering was like in November 2017.

  • Population: 220 Syrians, many Kurdish, with over half under 16 (capacity 300)
  • Services: mini-market, kids activities, women’s time
  • Volunteers: about 2-3 working from about 9:30- 5 or 6pm, Monday to Friday
  • Volunteer accommodation: a hotel at the nearby port of Kyllini with direct ferries to the islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos