Lighthouse Relief was formed on the Greek island of Lesvos in September 2015, as thousands of refugees were arriving every day. We mobilised quickly to provide structured emergency response to the area, and - when it became apparent that people were stranded for longer periods in mainland Greece - expanded to support vulnerable groups like children and youth. Five years later, we remain committed to advancing a dignified and empowering humanitarian response for as long as it's needed.
The situation for those seeking refuge in Europe remains critical. Approximately 93,700 people are currently stranded in sites across mainland Greece, with many waiting months - and even years - for a decision to be made about their future. In the camps, they face increasing uncertainty in a stressful and challenging environment, and are often exposed to harsh living conditions. But as the media loses interest, these stories become a forgotten reality.
Lighthouse Relief's safe spaces in Ritsona Camp target the psychosocial needs of children and youth and create opportunities for their voices to be heard, while training members of the community to implement activities through our Resident Volunteer Programme. After five years in Lesvos, our Emergency Response team is currently assessing the most pressing needs of refugees and asylum seekers across Greece. By remaining adaptable and agile, we hope to fill any existing gaps in support.
As conditions for refugees stranded in Greece deteriorate, and the situation quickly turning into a stalemate, we aim to build on our growing experience of engaging and empowering the most vulnerable, as part of our programming in Ritsona Camp - finding new ways to bring their unique and varied experiences to a wider audience. We are also working on reinforcing the resilience of residents and sustainability of our programming through our formalised Resident Volunteer Programme.