Since the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, Lesvos has ceased to be a place of registration and transit for refugees bound for northern Europe, and has been repurposed as a limbic space of indefinite waiting for asylum requests to be processed. The number of people trapped on the island has increased dramatically and nurtured frustrations as refugees begin to despair, uncertain of their future.

Greece's current financial situation under austerity has left the state unable to provide for its own citizens, and has found it deeply lacking in its ability to provide even basic services to its new migrant population. State facilities have failed to adapt to the prospect of the refugees' long-term stay on the island, keeping most in deplorable conditions, without access to psychological or psychiatric aid or, often, to basic legal services with which to advance the asylum claims that could allow them to leave the island. As a result, people find no outlet to their frustration save daily outbreaks of panic, unrest and violence.

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid has focused its efforts in compensating for failures in the state apparatus by catering to basic needs: food, makeshift shelter, clothes etc. -- provisions necessary for people to survive, but not, in the words of some refugees, "to remain human"; the daily tedium and unbearable boredom of those refugees left to wallow in camps indefinitely is maddening, and their confinement to shanty dwellings on the outskirts of the city gives them little opportunity to interact with the local community or to entertain the prospect of integration.

With aid organizations focused on the provision of basic amenities, there are very few spaces in which refugees who -- either by force or by choice -- will stay in Lesvos or Greece can find more focused support such as access to legal and psychological aid, to the local community, to the opportunity to work creatively, to education, and to steps towards integration here. This project was born as an attempt to contribute to the closure of that gap – to create a space in which people could gather and, for a few hours, no longer feel like refugees forced into states of entrapment and dependence, but like people empowered through mutual solidarity and support.


Mosaik’s aim is to offer refugees and migrants a sustainable means through which to give some constructive meaning to an otherwise harrowing and seemingly arbitrary experience of waiting, attrition and discouragement. By learning a language or a craft, producing art or joining creative projects, by seeking support in the asylum procedure from our legal teams, or simply by sharing a space that is safe and supportive refugees and migrants regain some semblance of normality, empowerment and, often, fun. Even if under such miserable conditions as those prevailing for migrants (and, to a different degree, for locals) on Lesvos, the “refugee crisis” has brought people from all over the world together on this remote island, radically altering its social and cultural landscape. It is our aim to create spaces in which that diversity can be celebrated, creating bonds of solidarity that transverse nationality, language, religion and age.

The Support Center is open to refugees and migrants living in camps, private apartments, or NGO shelters on Lesvos, but also supports people whose asylum procedure has already been completed and who have decided to stay on Lesvos, as well as to members of the island’s local community. All classes are made up of mixed migrant nationalities and locals in order to discourage segregation within the migrant population itself and to encourage exchange between migrant and local populations, facilitating processes of integration.

Mosaik employs members from both refugee and local communities as translators, legal advisors, language teachers, etc. In an attempt to create frameworks through which refugees give back to the local community rather than feeling themselves the passive and dependent recipients of others’ aid, Arabic and Farsi classes as well as many music and dance workshops are led by the refugees themselves. The upcycling workshop provides refugees with the opportunity to earn their own living by transforming discarded life vests into reusable items such as backpacks to sell throughout Europe.

Given the extent of our experience in solidarity work with refugees and migrants on Lesvos, we are in a position to help connect them with local organizations that can facilitate their integration into the local environment and offer them further support in their attempt to recover the sense of empowerment and autonomy that is the right of all human beings.


Email: info@lesvossolidarity.org
Phone: (+30) 2251 062 000
Website: www.lesvossolidarity.org


Email: protistassi@borderline-europe.de
Phone: (+30) 698 872 49 82
Website: www.borderline-europe.de


RECIPIENT: borderline-europe e.V.
IBAN: DE54 4306 0967 4005 7941 02

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