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.