2020 - Full of new challenges
So the year thus far, i am sure for everyone was not as planned!!!
Following a fire in Samos at one of the warehouses that we use we managed to get a convoy away at the end of January before the world ground to halt. Some much needed aid was delivered to the islands.
The world was then told to stay at home, but how can you stay at home if you dont have a home or wash your hands if you dont have a tap. Social distancing is impossible in a refugee camp.
Distributions dried up during lockdown in Grecce with the army taking over food distributions for the camps whilst one of the Hope and Aid Direct trustees stayed on in Samos during lockdown to help organise the new warehouse and get things into a position where everything is ready to go when lockdown restrictions are eased.
In the meantime, we have been working with hospital trusts and factories in the South East of England delivering material to the factories and then picking up completed scrubs and taking them to the local hospitals as required.
As we start to ease out of lockdown, we are planning for the rest of the year. Fundraising is obviously paramount and the collection of aid so that we are ready to go as soon as we can get across Europe.
2019 was a successful year for Hope and Aid Direct, albeit success in terms of the convoys rather than what we would like to deem a success, namely the reduction of refugees on the Greek Islands, unfortunately this situation has gone from bad to worse.
When the media pull out of environments such as this many NGO's follow suit as the funding tends to start to dry up. This is not the way Hope and Aid Direct work, we will support people for the long term if required.
We ran 2 much needed convoys in 2019, one in March and another in October, the October convoy being in partnership with Muntada Aid.
2018 so far.....
2018 has been a busy year, and with another convoy leaving for mainland Greece, Chios and Lesvos at the end of November it is not finished yet!
To give you an idea of what we have been up to, these are the top line details of the projects and convoys we have been involved in so far this year.
• 3 convoys in the past 12 months to Serbia, Athens and the Islands of Lesvos and Chios, as the ‘gates’ of Europe have increasingly been closed to desperate refugees, and numbers of men, women, children and babies have increased in detention centres to multiples of official capacity.
• The purchase and donation of commercial washing and drying machines to establish a Hope and Aid Direct Laundry in Sid, NW Serbia, to wash refugee clothes and blankets.
• Several bulk (pallets) pasta purchases made to support the Refugee Community Kitchen team working to feed refugees in Calais and Dunkirk, and beyond.
• In addition to our normal purchases of bulk food at very low and advantageous prices, there has been a large purchase of men’s new underwear with specifically donated funds, badly needed by all refugees.
• The purchase and provision of more Polytunnels to families in Kosovo.
• Receipt of a significant donation specifically used to provide further financial support to Hope and Homes in Pristina, Kosovo.
• 400 Motorola UHF handhold radios, and 100 Motorola UHF vehicle radios were received from Gatwick Airport after they upgraded all their staff radios. These were redistributed among a variety of Rotary clubs, Scout groups, Schools, Emergency support groups, and other NGO’s