LM Village, Greece
We operated in LM Village from April 2017 to January 2018 and then from May to November 2018.
The community here was so isolated they had 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 even well after people had arrived, it was still very run-down.
The main difficulty facing the 250-300 Syrians living on this small camp was the distance from any key services. As a result, there was very little support from other agencies, there were no local shops so difficult and costly for them to get supplies, very expensive for them to travel and its isolation added to their sense of abandonment.
Just 2 weeks after visiting LM Village, we set up a mini-market there.
With the support of the camp management, it was then expanded in 2018 to a bigger, more comfortable space. It was open from May to November 2018:
Our shop stocked fruit, vegetables and Syrian staples so that all the families on the camp could choose what they need, right on their doorstep. Not only that, we bought everything locally so we could also support Greece. Here is our grocer with co-ordinator Sue.
It was clear how our free mini-market helped: it took an hour to walk to the nearest shop. It is expensive with very little choice. Then there is the walk back with all the supplies.
With the shop currently shut, we funded a weekly bus service to the local market.
We also funded 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: weekly bus service, monthly nappy/ diaper distribution