Experimentation area: Lesbos - Greece
Period: January 2018 - April 2019
Led by: Marjolaine Bert
At the gates of Europe, Lesbos Island (Greece) faces a major crisis with the influx of refugees and migrants coming from Africa and Asia. Added to the rescue emergencies is the daily management of a temporary situation that has become a permanent one: unbearable for the exiled people and for the local inhabitants who have already been confronted with a major economic and societal crisis.
In this both complex and rich context, the Low-tech Lab was appealed to to collaborate with local actors to experiment implementing and broadcasting actions of low-techs: to find ways of improving precarious living conditions in camps, but also to create opportunities for people from very different backgrounds to mingle and exchange know-hows.
This project is innovative for the international humanitarian sector as it comes within a resolutely holistic and durable approach.
The Low-tech for Refugees pilot-project has been led since May 2019 by the EKO! Organisation under the name of Low-tech with Refugees Lesvos. In 2019, Low-tech with Refugees was beneficial to over 3 500 people, during training sessions, workshops, and so on. The Low-tech Makerspace on the island has become a resource space for thousands of people, including the local and international NGOs. Among the most used low-techs on the field: mattresses made from life jackets, power-banks, bicycles, rocket-stoves, and so on. End of February 2020, the team was made up of around thirty volunteers, mainly migrants. Since then, the action in Lesbos has been suspended due to the migratory complications and the public health crisis, and is waiting to be started up again.
In parallel, since May 2020 EKO! has opened two new branches, where exiled and local people build their socio-professional integration thanks to low-techs: Low-tech & Réfugiés Briançon, on the French-Italian transalpine border, and Low-tech & Réfugiés Marseille.
Our thanks go to One happy family who welcomed the project in their premises, and their participation, to 1% for the planet for their contribution and support.