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Help vulnerable refugees in Greece to relocate
$1,176 raised
65% of $1.8k goal
21 contributors
0 days left
Ended Jan 4, 2017
About 50,000 refugees are stranded in Greece, most of them living in squalid conditions in state-run reception centres.

Please, help us support vulnerable refugees, such as ill children, with their relocation requests to other EU countries.

What is this project?

As of May 2016, about 50,000 refugees have been stranded in Greece, most of them living in squalid conditions in state-run reception centres, detention centres and informal settlements around the country (Binet and Médecins Sans Frontières, 2016).

This is a terrible situation, but it’s even worse for vulnerable refugees. In this sense, this project aims to assist FIVE vulnerable refugees or FIVE refugee families with vulnerable members with technical support in their processes of relocation to other EU countries. 

Please read the full version of the project here (PDF).

Full disclaimer: This is a personal project. There is no connection with NGOs or charities. In this sense, it is important to make it clear that I’m asking for donations on a personal level and will use the money to finance this project .

Is this project really needed? Why?

In 2016 alone, over 160,000 refugees entered Greece via Mediterranean Sea (UNHCR, 2016). The current financial crisis made it very difficult for the Greek government to deal properly with such a large influx of people. Thus, thousands of refugees have been living under terrible conditions in state-run reception centres throughout the country.

However, this situation does not have to continue since most of these refugees can be relocated to other EU countries. The Greek government finished on 1 August a large scale pre-registration of refugees seeking international protection and relocation, but many still do not know how to go about the process and are unassisted, which decreases considerably their chances of success.

Currently, refugees face a vast range of obstacles in the relocation program. The lack of information is, perhaps, the most challenging. One of the main objectives of this project is to offer technical support to refugees throughout the process, as well as logistical assistance (covering bus fares for appointments, for instance).

A lack of information can hurt the chances of a refugee being granted protection, since the evaluation of the cases involves many factors. For instance, the Greek Asylum Service (Hellenic Ministry of Interior, 2016) states that information such as if a refugee has relatives in another EU country or if they have lived or studied in the EU, or whether a refugee has a health issue, will be taken into account in the decision to accept the application, and in the selection of the destination country for resettlement. Thus, refugees need to be prepared to answer such questions and to know what will be expected of them.

Therefore, this project will prepare the refugees for their interviews, including by taking their statements about the reasons that led them to flee their countries of origin. 

Why is this preparation important?

In many cases, the strongest evidence a refugee has to support their case is their own narrative. In this sense, it’s crucial for refugees to be able to tell their story in an organised, clear and concise fashion. The way a refugee presents their narrative to the authorities has a deep influence on the outcome of the asylum claim. Thus, this project will help refugees to tell their narrative more efficiently, including with printed copied of their statements organised chronologically.

When needed, this project will also produce evidence/research based reports to support the relocation requests of the refugees assisted, which may include requests to the responsible authorities to provide written evidence of their condition (or lack of) to offer adequate health treatments to seriously ill refugees, for instance.

As the Greek government has not yet indicated if it will provide the refugees with transportation to their appointments at the Asylum Service, this project will offer bus tickets to the families/refugees assisted, according to the availability of funds and the demand for the tickets.

What is this project trying to achieve?

This project aims to help vulnerable refugees to prepare their cases for relocation with the strongest case possible, presenting supporting evidence, statements and helping the refugees to tell their narratives in a clear way. We will also follow their cases closely. 

We want to help refugees to put their cases efficiently to the authorities so they can succeed in being relocated to a country where they can finally resume their lives. 

Why only five refugees/families?

Unfortunatelly, more money would be needed to help a larger number of vulnerable refugees. However, we believe that we should keep trying to make an impact in as many lives as we can. Helping five refugees to regain control of their lives is an achievement as great as helping 1,000. 

Why will you assist only vulnerable refugees?

Greece has now about 50,000 stranded refugees, which has attracted the attention of several international NGOs, such as The Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontieres‎, Médecins du Monde, Save the Children, among others.

In general, these organisations have been able to offer some relief to refugees, but the vulnerable ones have more complex needs that cannot easily be met by these organisations. These refugees must be relocated to countries where they can resume their lives, and receive all the social and medical support needed. Therefore, this is a priority group.

This project defines vulnerable refugees according to the Greek law: unaccompanied minors, single parents with minor children, women in pregnancy or having recently given birth, persons suffering from an incurable or serious illness, persons who have a disability, elderly, persons with post-traumatic disorder, in particular survivors and relatives of victims of shipwrecks, victims of torture, victims of rape or serious forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence or exploitation, and victims of human trafficking.

According to the Asylum Service, over 10 per cent of the refugees registered between 9 June and 5 July (2,143) were considered vulnerable. The numbers, however, are much larger. 

What will you get by supporting this project?

All donors will receive a detailed report every two weeks (in a total of two) with informations on how the budget has been used, the services offered, the profile of the refugees helped and how their cases are going. No names will be included in these reports in order to protect the privacy of the refugees.

Once the project is finished, a final report will also be sent to the donors with the outcomes of the programme.

Where will this project operate?

This project intends to operate in some of the state-run reception centres in the outskirts of Thessaloniki, where the residents are not detained and can leave the facilities . The reception centres that can be covered by the project are: Derveni-Alexil, Diavata, Oreokastro, Sinatex - Kavalari, Sindos - Frakaport, Softex, Kalochori - Illiadi, Sindos - Karamanlis and Thessaloniki Port.

What will the project offer?

This is a summarised version of the services offered. Please, read the PDF for further details. 

  • Assist five vulnerable refugees or five refugee families with vulnerable members in their relocation requests;
  • Assist in the process of lodging an asylum claim in Greece by helping the refugees to organise evidences for their cases, taking statements and helping them to present a clear narrative - including with printed copies of their statements organised chronologically;
  • Help the refugees to prepare for their appointments with the Asylum Service by taking their statements about the reasons that led them to seek international protection, their relations with the EU (e.g. relatives living in the EU members), their vulnerabilities (e.g. health issues) and their skills, in order to make sure they will be able to tell their narrative efficiently; 
  • Produce evidence/research based reports to support the refugees case for relocation;
  • Assist those refugees who have not yet pre-registered with the asylum authorities to book an appointment through Skype. In specific cases, in which it was not possible to schedule the appointment via Skype, take vulnerable refugees directly to the Regional Asylum Office in Thessaloniki, where they can file their request for asylum and then relocation in person;
  • Offer a laptop to refugees in order for them to get in touch with the authorities, try to contact persons that can provide them with documents, write statements, try to schedule appointments through Skype, among other things;
  • When needed, provide the refugees with proper wifi connections in order to schedule their appointments via Skype. 
  • Follow up the cases, provide the refugees with up-to-date informations on their process and accompany them to offcial appointments with the asylum authorities.

Who will manage the project?

The project will, ideally, have three collaborators: a caseworker (who will be the manager), an Arabic-English interpreter and a Greek-English interpreter. However, volunteer collaborators might be added.

The caseworker will be Gabriel Bonis, Research Assistant at the Rights in Exile Programme, where he has been investigating the mobilisation of locals in Thessaloniki and Idomeni to help refugees transiting through Greece since October 2015.

Mr Bonis is a former refugee caseworker at the British Red Cross in London, where he helped asylum seekers and refugees to access social services, such as education, housing and legal aid, also proving assistance to applications of asylum support and benefits for recognised refugees, having dealt with UK’s Home Office and British local authorities in housing and asylum support issues.

Mr Bonis has also worked as a visiting researcher at the Centre for Refugee and IDP Studies (CESI), University of Sarajevo (2015), and for over eight years as a journalist covering human rights issues around the world. Currently, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Politike, a website of political analysis and editorial partner of the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford.

Mr Bonis holds a masters degree in International Relations from Queen Mary, University of London, with a dissertation that analysed the asylum systems of France and Germany, and a postgraduate degree in politics and international relations. Mr Bonis is a Chevening Scholar (2013/2014), UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office prestigious scholarship.

How will the budget be spent?

  • Wifi Data dongle: €29,99 for a 6GB consumption quota, with 6GB of extra data authorized for the period of the project. Total budget: €59,98.
  • Preference will be given to hiring an Arabic-English interpreter, since most refugees are Arabic speakers. When possible, a refugee might be hired for this position. Total budget: €600.

  • When necessary (e.g. visits to the Greek asylum authorities), a Greek-English interpreter might be hired to deal with the Greek Asylum Service. This project will try to cover these specific needs with volunteers of organised groups that have been working with refugees in Thessaloniki. Total budget: €100.
  • Lan house + transportation: €70.
  • Bus tickets for refugees to attend appointments with the Greek asylum authorities (8 tickets each person maximum): €40.
  • Caseworker’s monthly bus pass for unlimited use: €30.
  • Caseworker’s support allowance: €300.
  • Used laptop for the refugees: €150.
  • Emergency contingency: €108,02.

The total amount of predicted expenses is: €1349,98.

Crowdfunding website fee 7% + €0,30 per donation = €112 + €30 (estimative for 100 donations).

Final amount designated to the project: €1458,00.


The staff of the project will sign a confidentiality agreement to protect the privacy of the refugees supported.

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$5 USD
Bus tickets
  • 3 granted
Provide 4 bus tickets to refugees so they can attend their appointments with the authorities or with our team.
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$10 USD
Bus tickets
  • 9 granted
Provide 8 bus tickets to refugees so they can attend their appointments with the authorities or with our team.
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$30 USD
  • 1 granted
Provide 6GB of free wi-fi to refugees in state-run reception centres where the internet is too poor for them to communicate properly with their family and the authorities.
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$50 USD
Arabic to English Interpreter
  • 0 granted
Pay an interpreter for two/three hours and help us prepare vulnerable refugees for their relocation interviews with the authorities.
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$50 USD
Greek to English/ English to Greek Interpreter
  • 2 granted
Pay a translator or interpreter to help us communicate properly with the Greek authorities regarding the cases of the refugees assisted by this project (e.g. translating emails from and to Greek, scheduling appointments etc)
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$100 USD
Arabic to English Interpreter
  • 0 granted
Pay an interpreter for five hours and help us prepare vulnerable refugees for their relocation interviews with the authorities.
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