As Lesbos, Samos feels much emptier then before.

Fourteen NGOs have left the island over the last year, and most asylum seekers and refugees are now living in an enclosed camp, seven kilometres from Samos town.

During our Samos days, we followed our partners Just Action, one of the few NGOs left here. They provide many necessities to the inhabitants of the camp (around 1000 people), and to the most destitute Greeks (less than 10 per cent of their customers.)

We are proud to be supporting them since their beginning three years ago. Principles and organised, they are doing an amazing work, helping people with respect and humanity, and limiting the impact their action has on the environment.

We helped with the unaccompanied minors distribution of food bags, and also worked in their free shop.

The free shop is located in Samos town and all are welcomed on presentation of asylum seeker papers, or police papers.

New arrivals -people are still arriving from Turkey via the sea, many from Syria and Palestine, Sierra Leone and DCR- are registered and given a tote bag, to bring on all their subsequent visits. JA is eco friendly and limit their use of plastic.

We help new customers navigate the shop, choose clothes, shoes, and hygiene products. We hand out sleeping bags, nappies for the little ones, and food packs.

One can visit the shop on a monthly rota to top up on products and collect a food bag to complement the food provided in the camp (adequate at best.)

On each visit, they are also given a couple of bus tickets, one to go back to the camp, another to use for the next visit.

When the shop closes, part of the JA team will then work on admin, and others will go to the warehouse, pick up items for the shop, or start the recycling of empty boxes used to transport goods. The cartons are shredded, mixed with wood chips collected from the wood shops of the town and made into a pulp that will be moulded into bricks. The bricks are then dried up and used as combustible material that can be burned for heat. Nothing is wasted!

A big thank you Lene, Vasilis, and the entire Just Action team for welcoming us so warmly these few days, and taking the time to show us how it’s done!

Next stop: Athens.

The services our partners can offer depend on the funds available. If you can would you make donation?

Our partners’ impact also depends on donations of goods. If you, or someone you know, work in the clothes/shoes/pram/food/ hygiene sector and could maybe support with goods, please be in touch

Together we can better the lives of many