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refuGEN

refuGEN
refuGEN GEN Takes Action regarding the Refugee Crisis on the Island of Lesvos “Together we aim to provide help on the ground in Greece and take responsibility for an issue that affects us all.” Dear Ecovillage Communities of Europe, The flow of refugees from war-torn areas continues and crossing into the EU is a dangerous risk many men, women and children feel forced to take to survive. The Greek Islands and especially the island of Lesbos is the main entry point where many arrive in need of help; others do not survive the crossing. As the colder winter comes, the situation will become even worse. As ecovillages we stand for social justice and a humane world where people should not be hindered to seek their legal right to asylum in the EU. refuGEN is now ready to act. Our plan is to field a mission to the small city of Mytilini on the Greek island of Lesvos. We have already been there through our Team Member Anna of Skala and made connections with the local NGOs, municipality and university. Our mission will work seamlessly with local efforts and we aim to strengthen local capacities in Mytilini to utilise local residents and international volunteers to meet the needs of distressed refugees arriving, especially those who have lost family members, needed medical care and remain on Lesvos a longer period. We are working with the local community to arrange our accommodations and identify the greatest need for refuGEN to fill. The refuGEN mission will start its briefing in Greece 20-23 Dec and be on location in Lesvos no later than 24 Dec. Both Anna and I, Robert will be part the first group of refuGEN volunteers on location before Christmas. We now need your help. We need volunteers, financial support and materials. VOLUNTEERS: Persons capable of helping others in need, with at least a minimum of basic skills in English are welcome to apply to become a refuGEN volunteer by filling in the application form here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MBJDVLQ We need Arabic speakers and medical doctors and nurses as well as people with good community/inter-personal/trauma/practical skills. You must be willing to stay at least 7 days, but the longer the better. Unfortunately we cannot promise any financial assistance with travel and food/accommodation costs. We hope to be 5 persons at all times, with a team leader staying a longer period, a medic, an interpreter and two more volunteers. DONATIONS: If you can, please contribute to the refuGEN fund. It is for paying common costs of the mission that we cannot ask individual volunteers to pay for. If we collect enough money we would like to help volunteers in financial need to help pay food, accommodation and possibly travel to the location. It is possible to donate via GEN Europe PayPal account or GEN Europe bank account. Please mark all donations with "refuGEN". PAYPAL: http://gen-europe.org/spende/index.htm Postbank Berlin, bank code 10010010, Account no: 7681105 IBAN: DE 11100100100007681105, BIC: PBNKDEFF GEN-Europe e.V. is a charity association - Donations to us are…
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Report From Lesvos

Report From Lesvos
Dear friends, As we all know, Lesvos is undeniably experiencing a humanitarian crisis.
 Fortunately, several large international NGOs are present in Lesvos and they obviously perform a work of great importance to manage the current “crisis”. However, the needs far exceed the capacity of their staff. Me, Anna and Nikiforos (SKALA Ecovillage, Greece) have visited the island and researched the possibilities for a longer term team of volunteers from the GEN, to be there and help. On Lesvos, several local teams of volunteers are at work. Doctors without borders are there, and IRC, the Islamic Relief, Red Cross, Action Aid and many others…These groups are based in different places of the island and try to collaborate as much as possible. However, they have so much to do that often lack time to coordinate their efforts. Most refugees arrive by the northern coast of the island, but some of them reach Lesvos by the South. 80% of the refugees arrive by boats on the north coast between Molyvos and Sykaminia. 30 km long beatch. They come by small plastic boats, overloaded with 60-80 people or by old fishing boats hugely overloaded with 200-300 people. If the boats get to trouble the volunteers go into the water to rescue the people. Several amazing teams are working on the north coast of Lesvos. The most important is that the people come alive out of the sea. A Spanish/south American crew and a Greek crew with jet ski operate there, they go out quickly and rescue people in the middle of the sea. I could see with my own eyes a rescue action, while trying to make a photo and I had to take my heart into my hands and praying for the safe result. We went to Skala Sykaminias, an arrival spot – with a strong presence of Greek anarchists, plus various NGOs and individuals, they welcome the people, who have just arrived by boat. They have a small kitchen and they provide the refugees arriving by boat with dry clothes and shoes, rain ponchos, sleeping bags, food, medical help, information, bus tickets, etc. From there buses go to the “Hot Spots” and Mytilini. We were also in Molyvos – Captens Table of Melinda – NGO Starfish. Melinda McRostie and her great team are also providing arriving refugees with water, basic food, clothes, buses. Melinda runs the Starfish organization that runs the Oxy camp and provides shelter in the harbor. We need to have in mind that people who arrive here are coming from extremely difficult situation, war, long walk, the long travelling through Turkey (for some of them two months), often without water or food, then they go on a boat and are even more terrified and so, when they come here, in Lesvos, they feel lost. Some of them don’t know, if they are realy in Greece or in Turkey, if they are safe, what is happening next… People offen feel powerless and confused. An humanean welcome is of great importance.…
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Alternative and solidarity economy in Skala

Alternative and solidarity economy in Skala
Dear friends, From 22 to 28 of October in SKALA Ecovillage, Greece, we had the honor to explore together with the experts, Matthew Slater and Stewart Noble the issues of money and alternative and solidarity economy. The last five years, Greece is in economic cyclone eye. A cyclone, which, as we all know, has a tremendous impact on the real lives of millions of people. Now, economists and politicians are trying to find ways to extend Greece's debt, without even considering whether it should be repaid. We wonder, if it is an opportunity to redefine the measure of the value of money. If we stop using GDP as an indicator of economic success and if we set our resources in productive activities instead of military spending, security and inefficient ideologies, if we declare that "we do not want to be part in this madness", how can we regain control of our productive resources and how do we do it with dignity and not with violence? Matthew Slater, software activist from the UK, co-founder of the Swiss NGO Community Forge, alternative currency consultant, advises communities to create and manage complementary currencies, enabling: 1. promotion of local resources 2. increase in social cohesion and social dynamics 3. increasing economic resilience 4. promotion of local autonomy 5. reduction of environmental impacts Together with him, Stewart Noble, with decades of practical experience in supporting local economies without money, showed us, how we create new "cells" of alternative economy. Stewart Noble founded or supported most of the LETS in Scotland - local exchange trading system - explained to us in a direct and practical way, what are the Lets systems. Lets is a mutual aid system based on the community where people exchange goods and services by evaluating in terms of local currency, instead of spending cash. The great attraction of alternative economy in a time of uncertainty is because a certain amount of cash that would otherwise be spent on services such as hairdresser or language courses etc. can be saved, as people pay each other in kind instead. More specifically , in workshops with Matthew and Stewart we dealt with : Offers and needs between us (SKALA Ecovillage) but also with the local community . Relations with the local community - what can we offer to the local community and the world? What do we need? Afterwards Matthew led us in the trading floor game while Stewart put all the offers and wants into his SAM software and produced a printed directory. Look at new offers and wants directory. Write some cheques for imaginary transactions, enter them in SAM and browse. On Monday morning , Stewart left for Crete, promising to return in the spring and develop some Lets systems in Greece. The next two afternoons Matthew led the workshops as follows : 1. How does money flow through Skala & members 
Map collective and individual economic inputs and outputs 2. Core business ideas. 
ASK everyone what kind of work creates flow, is…
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