Update: 6000 solar lamps are on their way to Europe!
Recently, you kindly helped us raise funds to provide solar lamps for refugees in Lesvos, Greece. We are delighted to say that 6000 lamps are NOW ON THE MOVE and will soon be in the hands of those who desperately need them.
In overwhelmed camps like Moria, which was called “worst refugee camp on earth” by Médecins Sans Frontières (read full story below), tensions spill over in many ways and never more so than at night. Under the cover of darkness, where theft, violence and abuse see heartbreaking suffering. These lamps will be a deterrent, providing 10 hours of light. Those on the ground tell us, moreover, that the fact they are portable, rather than fixed, is ideal as the refugees will be able to take them around the camp with them. A second camp, Kara Tepe, focuses more on families with children, and conditions are not quite so challenging there. It too, however, needs support for these little ones and the parents battling to give them cover. It likewise lacks electricity.
Crossroads partners with d.light solar company
The solar company d.light produces the lamps as part of its commitment to get solar power to those who need it. Their co-founder, Ned Tozun, and his wife Dorcas Tozun Cheng, participated in Crossroads’ refugee simulation “A Day in the Life of a Refugee” in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum (WEF). Afterwards they suggested partnering to see the lamps reach refugees.
They could not provide these free as they are themselves a social enterprise with special focus on providing for people in poverty. They offered to help with fundraising, however, and, for transparency, see those donations channeled through Crossroads. We, in turn, have receipted the donors and set the funding aside to purchase the 6000 lamps once the needed amount was reached.
Logistics partner: HRIF Global Aid
We have known our logistics partner, HRIF Global Aid, for the past two decades as they have specialized in humanitarian logistics throughout that time. Acting on advice, we will send the lamps via HRIF which, itself, sends a truckload of supplies to Lesvos every month.
NGO distributor in camps: Because We Carry
Once the lamps have reached the camps, they will be handled by the NGO ‘Because We Carry’. This group was started by a group of women who began, originally, with provision of baby carriers for the young mothers in the camps. They have broadened their work, now, and work with volunteers from all over the world. We will ask them for photos though, as you no doubt now, it is forbidden to take photos inside these camps. Nonetheless, they will do what can be done, as will HRIF, so we can feedback to you with the happy news that the lamps are finally in the hands of those who need them!
THANK YOU again, for making this possible!
You did it!
We hit the target of 1,000 solar lights! These lights will go first to Moria Camp in Lesvos, Greece – said to be the worst camp in the world. Any extra lights will go to other camps on the island. We’ll post again when the lights are delivered. What a gift you are giving this Christmas season… Light in a very dark place where every bit of light gives hope and keeps them safer. THANK YOU!!!
Amazing what you did through social media
We promoted our solar lamp campaign on our US Facebook page which is quite new so we only have ~80 likes (8,600 in Hong Kong)
Your part: You donated and also shared the solar light post 458 times! Anonymous donor matched each share with a light! 1,000 lights were raised through shares and donations
Impact: You reached over 21,000 people with the importance of light for refugees.
AND: Now all 5,000 lights can go to Moria Camp! Amazing!
“I have never seen the level of suffering we are witnessing here…” MSF worker
The widely respected charity, Médecins Sans Frontières, has called Greek Moria Camp, ‘The worst refugee camp on earth.’ In this BBC video, of the same name, the journalist documents ‘horrific violence’. We regret that the description, below, is graphic, but, regret, even more deeply, the conditions in the camp that motivated us to share it.
Children as young as ten are attempting suicide. Stabbings and beatings are seeing people killed as ethnic tensions erupt, particularly at night. Last year, a Crossroads team visited the camp to learn of the need first hand. Human trafficking is an ever present danger. Women and children are abused. Men and boys are too, as other men seek to subjugate them. Stress, trauma, worry, hunger and medical need all combine to make this camp appalling. The MSF worker in this video says that, despite having worked in several war zones, “I have never seen the level of suffering we are witnessing here every day.”
The reason Moria is overwhelmed is its location. It is on Lesvos, a little Greek island very close to Turkey where refugees from Syria and other conflict zones travel overland to the coast. There they take a boat to Lesvos: gateway to the EU. Most end up in Moria Camp and it is not coping. The camp was designed to hold just over 2,000 people for 4-5 days before refugees then moved onto the mainland. Since the EU-Turkey deal came into place in March 2016, refugees can no longer move on as quickly and the camp now has at least 8,000. Many have been there for months, up to 2 years.
The camp has no electricity. Nor do other camps on Lesvos. At night, flammable light sources can see fires rip through the camp. As well, the cover of darkness allows for the horrendous aggression and abuse. One little girl was raped in a dark bathroom, a few months ago. She did not speak, eat or wash for months afterwards as she was too traumatized. Her mother secretly brought her for medical help, but explained the father could not know what she has been through or he would disown her. One of our colleagues, a trauma therapist, calls this camp the closest she has seen to ‘hell on earth’.
A recently published article from Fast Company also underlines the importance of solar lamps in refugee camps, saying:
“On average in the past year, there was a 20% decrease in rape and sexual assault in camps since predators traditionally depend on darkness to execute their attacks. With light, they can be identified.”
The campaign: Skip a coffee, provide a light for refugees
Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong is partnering with solar company, d.light, to see solar lamps given to the camp. Aid workers tell us these lights will be ideal because they can be easily carried as people move around in the dark.
A donation of as little as US$5 will provide a lamp to a refugee family, helping protect them from the atrocities that happen all too easily at night. And, if you would like to, add US$1 more for shipment to help us send it to those in need!
Crossroads Foundation is a Hong Kong-based non-profit organization whose goal is to connect people in a broken world. As our name suggests, we try to be a crossroads: bringing together those in need and those who can help. Crossroads Global Village (US) Limited is part of the Crossroads global network to connect need and resource.