It is no longer in the news, but the the refugee crisis is still ongoing. It is crucial that we keep spreading solidarity and nurturing the prospect of a brighter future for the brave people that are still stuck in the middle.
We’ll be running on the 29th of May for ECHO100Plus - the amazing group of people with which we both spent time last year. They work hard to provide immediate solutions, intervening where larger organisations often can’t. Please watch this great video, share and donate if you can - a little goes a long way in these good hands.
Now this ain’t no marathon, 10k is meant to be like a walk in the parc but we’re of the less fit kind, please support us nevertheless.
Leti & Marg
We know some of you have been having problems with donating via GoGetFunding (ughh). Here is the info for our NGO if you want to donate directly:
Account name: Echo100Plus
IBAN: AT77 2011 1820 5088 5100
Account owner: Catharina Kahane,Theresianumgasse 11/7, A-1040 Wien
Address of the bank: Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG (Erste Bank Oesterreich), Graben 21, A-1010 Wien
Current volunteers are transforming the cold warehouse into a shop, and distribution into a more flexible, more dignified points system:
The current setup for getting clothing to the residents is not ideal by any means. Residents are forced to come monthly, to line up in front of a derelict structure, and be doled out their allotted clothing items. On distribution days, the residents; doctors, computer engineers, and farmers alike, wake up at 4 am in the hopes of securing decent clothing for themselves and their families. The volunteers try to fold and organise the donated clothing, but often to little or no avail. The stacks quickly become dusty piles as residents are forced to sift through them. Most residents will wait for four hours plus, only to leave disappointed at their empty hands, and stung with the undignified nature of it all.
At Echo, we have decided that we cannot be responsible for these heartbreaking situations any more, and have formulated a plan. We have elected to transform the warehouse (a dilapidated military building) into a clothing “boutique”. Residents will be given a quota of points per month, with which they can purchase clothing items. They will be able to enter the boutique on certain days, peruse the selection at their leisure, and select items without being under the pressure of the distribution days. We believe that the added freedom and personal choice of this experience will contribute much more to the dignified and normal life that we are constantly working to give the residents.
This may seem like a simple goal, but one of the biggest afflictions the residents suffer is a complete lack of control of them and their family’s lives. For so long they haven’t been able to choose when or what they eat, how or when they get hygiene items, when they can get new clothes or what their children will wear. By establishing a Boutique we hope to restore a bit of choice and control to address this paralysing passivity. We know that most of the residents just want to leave Ritsona and start their lives again, but sadly for many this may be months or even years off. With lines of hope left fraying, and the topic of suicide even finding its way into the conversation on a weekly basis, making Ritsona a place of positivity, not despair is an urgent matter.
In order to make this plan a reality we will require
- fabric to cover the ceiling
- new lighting
- and a check in/check out area
… all of which necessitates funding. Please consider donating to help us bring some normality, dignity, and positivity to this camp, where these things are hard-pressed. Any surplus funds will be put towards our activities programme, currently consisting of chess, Arabic lessons, and soon sewing, English conversation, and more!
Katie, Sarah and the whole Echo Team