Laundromat project in Greece

Laundromat project in Greece

February 2017, with the help of partners Interact (Sweden) and Richmond's First Baptist Church (Virginia, USA), CBAid successfully set up the first laundromat for refugees in a refugee camp in Greece

CBAid, in cooperation with Interact Fund for Renewal and Development, and a team from Richmond’s First Baptist Church successfully set up a pilot project as part of the winterization of the refugee camp in Greece: a laundromat for refugees.

Interact was represented by Daniel Rasberg, a person with a long, impactful and global experience in humanitarian work. Richmond’s First Baptist Church team (Ann Carter, Franklin Hamilton, Lori Humrich, Shannon Harton) was led by pastor Steve Blancher. They invested their time and effort, left their families and homes, travelled a long way, to help refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, etc., who were crossing from Turkey into Greece.

After intense conversations with the Greek Ministry of Defense, CBAid team (Ena Kundačina, Miki Skakić, Vladimir Alić), led by Elvis Džafić, signed a contract which signified the beginning of the laundromat pilot project.

As the interest of the public about the refugee crisis decreased, so the donations decreased as well. At the same time, the needs of the refugees have increased. The lack of hygiene, quality nutrition, inadequate clothing, contributed to the worsening of conditions for refugees. Those experienced in humanitarian work know that one-time help is not enough; it is necessary to follow up and provide constant assistance, while recognizing current needs, until a sustainable solution can be found. That “sustainable solution”, often overlooked in crisis situations, is related to taking care of clothing. With small funds, if the infrastructure of the camp allows it, it is possible to set up a mobile laundromat that can provide refugees with a solution for taking care of their clothes adequately, and thus keep the hygiene levels relatively high.

Seeing how refugees were forced to “wash” their clothes outside, in low temperature, often in very bad weather, while not having a place for drying the clothes, CBAid and FRBC teams came to the conclusion that the laundromat project could go a long way in helping to upkeep the hygiene of the overall population in the camp.

The laundromat project was the first successful joint CBA, Interact and FRBC project, and is still active. Looking to the future and following the statistics about the influx of refugees from Turkey into Greece, especially the islands, CBAid, together with partners, is looking for new ways to contribute and provide aid to refugees there.

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