Samos Island | Σαμος, Ελλαδα
North Aegean, Greece
The hotspot camp on Samos has capacity for just 650 asylum seekers, yet currently holds almost 8,000. The conditions experienced by asylum seekers are despicable, living exposed to heat and cold, wild animals, and without adequate access to medical, legal, nutritional and educational support.
All through winter, freezing conditions risk lives. Throughout summer, exposure to extreme temperatures and animals does the same.
Whilst these thousands of asylum seekers wait out protracted interview procedures before being able to leave the island, what few services are on offer from non-governmental organisations must fill a huge gap in services that safeguard mental and psychical wellbeing.
The Banana House
Education Centre, showers and kitchen for youth
The Banana House is located in the centre of Samos town, set in what was formerly a kindergarten. This renovated space comprises 3 classrooms, a kitchen, a chill-out room, showers and a large garden.
The centre is run by a dedicated team of 10 international volunteers and around 30 volunteers from the refugee community, sharing responsibility for teaching, cooking, centre management and student welfare.
Students accessing the centre attend classes in English, Greek and other creative subjects, as well as receiving a hot meal, showers and recreational activities.
Monday - Friday we open to 18 - 23 year olds. On Sundays, we run dedicated sessions for under 18s and for women and girls.
A specialised learning environment for 2 - 7 year olds
All children need safe spaces to learn and grow, but perhaps no group of children more so than those fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Congo, Myanmar, and Angola. The Greek island of Samos lies just over a mile from the coast of Turkey, making it a major entry point for smugglers who crowd men, women and children into rafts that are often not seaworthy.
The Nest is an age-appropriate, peaceful space staffed by an international coalition of teachers who are sensitive to the needs of young children. Bringing together the early years expertise of PILA, with the on-the-ground and educational focus of Action for Education, we’re working together to provide access to this safe haven for as many young children as possible.
The Computer Lab
Digital Literacy Courses & Open Access Computers
For those waiting out protracted asylum cases on the island of Samos, a lack of digital connectivity means separation from friends and loved ones. It restricts access to the 21st century's most powerful and widely used means of channels for education and recreation.
That's why our Computer Lab, run in partnership with Glocal Roots is filling a huge gap by being the first and only dedicated computer space for refugees on Samos.
Together with our partners, we run daily computer classes providing digital literacy skills for women and young adults. For another 6 hours a day, we welcome anyone who wants to use our computers, whether to relax, communicate or learn.
With up to 100 visitors a day, we're proud to keep offering such a simple, yet profoundly important, service.