Volleyball 4 Refugees in Greece
In 2020, Fingerprints Ruth & Arjanne started volleyball lessons for people of concern (POC, as not all people in the camp, are refugees) in the Greek camp in Moria, being a volunteer for Christian Refugee Relief, Eurorelief, and Let's Keep The Ball Flying.
One year later, LKTBF fingerprints Marloes and Guus proceeded to Moria to continue and further develop the volleyball program.
The circumstances of living in a refugee camp are severely challenging. LKTBF collaborates with several partners to build a sustainable volleyball program in Camp Moria to Unlock the Power of Volleyball. Being able to give them a moment to forget all their worries makes it all worth it.
"The moment you see a smile full of hope from a young girl that just came from a conflict zone will change you for life."
Life as a Volunteer
Volunteers have accommodation in one of the villages near the camp. Most groups form a friendly community, have dinner together, and organize all kinds of activities off work. Our partners, Eurorelief and Christian Refugee Relief, are Christian organizations. Religion plays a meaningful role in the life of their volunteers.
A workday in the camp starts at 8:00 at the info point. You can sign up for the available tasks after roll call and prayers. As an LKTBF volunteer, your work involves operating with the volleyball program.
Other tasks can be housing, where you prepare housing for refugees or help them move. Sensing, where you visit people to hand out tickets for appointments with other organizations or check if people are still present.
Inside the camp, it is not about doing your work, but about being there for people and listening to them. The love and warmth of other volunteers are too beautiful to describe.
Tasks also include maintenance and distribution of non-food items like clothes and hygiene products. After meeting with your task coordinator, you go into the camp to start your work.
You will eat lunch in the camp, eating your sandwiches or some of the many different available foods cooked by inhabitants of the camp. During the day, there is an opportunity to visit people for a cup of tea. Or a chat with players of your volleyball sessions.
"To inform someone that she will receive her ID, and after four years, will be reunited with her family is absolutely unforgettable."
There is also the possibility to visit tents to recruit more volleyball players.
Around 16:30, the shift is over. Then all volunteers should end their job, return to the info point, get their name off the board and leave the camp.
Once in a while, you have a Saturday or Sunday shift because new arrivals arrive on Saturday, and Eurorelief info point is also open for questions of POC’s on Sunday.
Most of the weekend days are off work. You have the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Lesbos. You can go by car to some of the local towns in the west and north part of the island.
But you can also use the bike to discover the surroundings and nature. Even closer to the camp, you can visit Mytilini, the capital of Lesbos. Or relax at one of the beaches.
Volleyball in the Camp
Currently, we are working on a proper volleyball court inside the camp. In the meantime, we are creative and build our court with donated items from clubs in The Netherlands.
We have a volleyball net, a designated court, but most of the time, we play volleyball in another better area. Volleyball is quite popular in the camp.
There is a group with approximately twenty men who are experienced players. But many others love to play or are interested in playing. Women are less used to playing volleyball in their country of origin but are very enthusiastic and eager to learn. Besides adults, we organize sessions for girls.
"During covid restrictions, we secretly played volleyball at the end of the day. People who passed by, children and adults, joined spontaneously. The joy, excitement, and all people playing together, showed us exactly why we are here."
Eurorelief has a male and a female volunteer that coordinates the volleyball sessions. In the current schedule, sessions for women and girls are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Sessions for men are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The organization Yoga & Sports offers volleyball sessions for men at a sports club outside the camp. We are currently managing to collaborate with all partners to aim for the best possible volleyball program.
Our Future Plans
LKTBF is preparing for a brand new, mobile volleyball court in the sports area inside the camp, together with a year-round volunteer program with volunteers including volleyball coaching backgrounds.
We also try to establish an educational program that can educate POC's to work with our volleyball program. In this way, the volleyball program can continue in the evenings while our volunteers left the camp. We collaborate with multiple organizations to make everything possible.
"With some extra tips, translated to Farsi with Google Translate, the players improve fast."
Our big dream is to eventually facilitate training sessions and create an internal competition between teams in different age categories.