My name is Louise Holm. I am currently living and working on Lesvos island in Greece. Maybe you have heard a little more about Lesvos in the media in the recent weeks. The island is unfortunately known for the notorious refugee camp, Moria, that burned to the ground on september 9th.
Let me first start by introducing myself and the situation a little more. I came to Lesvos in January this year to work as a physiotherapist in a medical clinic, working inside the camp. Since coming here it has become very clear to me, that the situation on the island is completely unsustainable and highly problematic for everyone, that is caught up in this crisis that without a doubt has reached a political deadlock.
Everyone working and living here, whether that be locals, refugees, authorities or international volunteers are exhausted and frustrated with the situation! You can see it in the eyes of the people here, no one is able to see a way out of this mess at this point. The situation seems hopeless and everything that has been happening and put into place after the fire, is only contributing even more to an even greater feeling of hopelessness for all that are involved.
Refugees and migrants are stuck on the island for years, and this forced and involuntary settlement on the island is very demanding and requires a lot of support from the local community. After 5 years of dealing with this situation and without seeing any improvements it is becoming more and more difficult to uphold this welcoming engagement, meaning that right now the gap between local communities, refugees and ngo’s are becoming bigger and bigger. Which is now contributing to a hostile and unfriendly environment.
Now before it becomes too depressing let me tell you about something amazing that took place here on the island just before the devasting fire broke out in Moria. Yoga and Sport for Refugees and yoga teacher Claire Lalande (Geneva) put together a 200h yoga teacher training for both locals, refugees and international volunteers. It was pure magic and everyone finished the training with bravour, and can now call themselves certified yoga teachers.
But I dont want this magic to end with only a certificate, and since I am now living here in Lesvos I have decided that I want to open and start a small non-profit yoga community center/studio here - a place that is open to everyone from everywhere.
My dream is to create a space that represents unity, humanity and inclusivity. My hope is that this place eventually can guide the way and show everyone who is either passing through Lesvos or who is living here, that it is in fact possible to join forces and learn from each other. I want to make the studio a symbol of acceptance and a reminder to all, both locals, refugees and travellers, that two cultures disregarding their religious beliefs and ethnic affiliation can live side by side in peace.
My aspiration is to help closing the growing gap between the different groups of people living together here in Lesvos.
I hope that you would like to help and support me in order to proceed with this dream and I am hoping that you will see this as an opportunity of being a part of creating a beautiful and peaceful space, where we use yoga as a way of fighting this growing gap.
I am looking for financial support to rent a place here in Lesvos and to restore the place into a beautiful space that brings a peace of mind when you step inside.
But also I am looking for help with buying the following materials:
- Yoga mats
- Yoga blocks
I am very passionated about opening and creating a warm and welcoming space where people will feel comfortable and included and I truly hope you will consider donating and supporting my small non-profit yoga project, YogaUnion, here in Lesvos.
Hopefully I will have the YogaUnion project up and running sooner than later, so if you ever find yourself in Lesvos, please don’t hesitate to look me up!