Empower the refugees
In may 2019, the project became Low-tech with Refugees (LTWR) and is carried by the french association called EKO! - an organization recently set up by current and former project volunteers to keep carrying on the activities. The line of activities remains the same. Decisions are made by an executive team and supported by international experts.
What we do
The activities provided by Low-Tech with Refugees are aimed at improving the living conditions of the asylum seekers in Lesvos. The beneficiaries will be trained, empowered and will gain new skills in order to address their needs and find their solution.
What we achieved in 2019
Numbers Speak For Themselves
How we do it
The Low-tech Makerspace - a space for all
Since December 2018 the field team opened the Low-tech Makerspace inside One Happy Family, a community center strategically located in between the two biggest refugee camps of the island, Moria and Kara Tepe. The Low-tech Makerspace is a resource centre that gives everyone the means to meet their own needs. This place is mainly managed by asylum seekers, experts in various fields: welding, carpentry, electronic repair, bicycle mechanics, etc. The tools, materials and resource persons are at the disposal of visitors who come to learn how to repair or make objects they need from recycled materials, meet and train each other.
The priority of LTWR is creating a friendly and collaborative environment where beneficiaries are trained to make, repair and fix the objects they need and design their own solutions. People gather to work on individual projects developing his/her own artisanal skills or to acquire new abilities. Volunteers and asylum seekers often come with ideas they would like to experiment within the atelier, whereas others enter the Low-tech Makerspace to access the services.
Work with the asylum seekers not for them
Teaching / training
The beneficiaries will be trained by asylum seekers and volunteers who are experts on technical aspects and in this way will acquire new abilities and knowledge. The low-tech team shares how to repair objects and how to create sustainable solutions, working together with the asylum seekers. This methodology permit to the beneficiaries to maintain their autonomy and be empowered, going beyond the abused concept of welfarism. Regular visitors are provided with certificates and a portfolio of the objects and/or solutions that they created in order to facilitate potential future employments.
LTWR commits its energies and resources to explore how low-techs can ameliorate the living conditions of asylum seekers, empowering them to address their own needs and to acquire new abilities. Within the Low-tech Makerspace social, environmental and economic issues are integrated to create sustainable solutions.
A different way of helping
This project constitutes a source of inspiration and relief on the island. Visitors access the Low-tech Makerspace and are trained, gain new skills and are empowered to address their own needs. This approach to empowering beneficiaries is more sustainable that distributing supplies that they need.
Using upcycled materials found on the island also improves the sustainability of the approach. In addition, as the visitors increasingly gain skills and teach others, they create a virtuous circle and ensure that there will always be people on the island to keep disseminating this knowledge. We are seeking support and funding to ensure the quality of the services and activities as well as to expand the center and involve more people in the project.
Building the future
With professional advice, we know that the program we propose provides lifelong tools in gaining knowledge, being more resilient and developing opportunities. We strongly believe that this project will yield impressive results in the medium and long term, providing skills that can be used for life. The exponential increase of activities since the opening of the Makerspace show us that the services we provide are very much needed on the island. At last, not only the individuals who will access the services provided will be empowered, but also the people around them, inside and outside their community.
Who we are ?
The organisation is entirely run by volunteers, who are international people and asylum seekers. Among the people involved, the majority are asylum seekers. Volunteers act as facilitators, they coordinate and manage the activities which are conducted by participants. Overcoming the cultural barriers and creating a mutual relationship between volunteers and beneficiaries who are making something together is one of the priorities of LTWR.
Contribute to the humanitarian emergency response by developing solutions that meet the basic needs of asylum seekers in an autonomous and sustainable manner.
Disseminate the low-tech approach, for asylum seekers, locals, and NGOs as a means of empowerment, by bringing together the different communities.
Leverage collective knowledge and the diverse cultural and social community to contribute to research, documentation, awareness and dissemination of low-techs.
Support actions that promote integration, training and employment opportunities for asylum seekers.