The Lava Project is a Public Hygiene and Medical Support laundry facility for Moria refugee camp on Lesvos.
Lesvos is one of 5 Greek islands where Reception and Identification Centres (RIC) were established to basically store refugees, often for several years, while they go through the lengthy and complex asylum application process.
Moria is the biggest refugee camp in Europe with a built capacity of 4,000 it now has 11,000 people, 40% of whom are children (1,000 unaccompanied by parents) living in and around the camp.
This camp has insufficient shelter, lack of basic health care (the government contract clinic is currently closed), poor and inadequate sanitation and water supply and very bad food. There are no facilities for laundry in the camp.
As it is almost impossible to wash clothes and bedding, bed bugs and scabies are widespread. This encourages the spread of many other diseases.
The Lava Project was founded in June 2019 by volunteers to try to fill this gap in humanitarian aid left by the authorities and larger NGOs.
In this first phase of the project we concentrate on the most vulnerable people – single mothers with young babies, unaccompanied children, single women and medical cases. At the moment we are washing around 1400 bags of clothes a month. When we get to full capacity we will wash 3500-4000 bags a month.
As well as volunteers we involve people from the camp in the daily work which helps their physical and mental health while they endure the long wait in Moria and the uncertainty of their futures.