I'm so happy to have been able to make a small contribution to so many things during my time here on Chios.
You may have seen from my Facebook posts that I have recently been involved with the setup of a sewing and textiles project. This is part of a larger project started by my team, the "CESRT Creative Centre" located in the main town on Chios. The CCC is a drop in centre, a space for refugees from both camps on the island to come and play music, dance, take part in art projects, crafts etc... even practice massages and hairdressing! We've got such a wealth of talent here that is just going to waste, and this is a wonderful safe space for people to come and both show off and use their various skills, and also to learn from each other.
As part of this I've set up a sewing room. Here people can come and alter their clothes, create something useful or fun or even just learn to sew. We are lucky enough to have the use of two sewing machines, have invested in basic equipment such as needles, thread etc, and as far as possible are making use of recycled materials to resource the project. We're using unwanted cloth from clothes that are unsuitable for distribution in camp, and even unusual materials such as the rubber collected from abandoned boats arriving from Turkey. With the help of our refugee friends we've made items ranging from bags to industrial aprons!
There is a regular flow of people coming to use the facility, from the younger men wanting to alter their trousers to make them more fashionable (!) to ladies taking up their dresses, and many people simply interested in learning a new skill. We have an Iranian tailor who comes in almost every day and alters clothes on behalf of other families. It's by far and away the most satisfying thing I've been involved in since coming to Chios, clearly making a tangible, however small, contribution to enhancing people's lives, and I'm incredibly excited and proud to be involved with it.
Having seen this project started, I'm very sad that I'm now leaving Chios in a couple of weeks for an extended break. Its going to be very hard, but at the same time so good to leave on such a "high".