Lighthouse Relief

Providing social services and emergency support for asylum seekers in Greece

Lighthouse Relief

About Lighthouse Relief:

Lighthouse Relief is a humanitarian organization dedicated to providing safe harbor and essential support to refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. Founded in September 2015 by a group of dedicated volunteers from Sweden, Norway, Syria, Spain, and the UK, Lighthouse Relief emerged in response to the escalating refugee crisis and the urgent need for assistance in the village of Skala Sikamineas on the north shore of Lesvos. Since its inception, Lighthouse Relief has remained steadfast in its commitment to upholding international refugee law and fundamental human decency, providing vital assistance to those in need.

What They Do:

Lighthouse Relief's mission is to address the immediate and long-term needs of refugees and asylum seekers in Greece, with a focus on providing safe housing, essential supplies, information support, and psychosocial services. Through a range of programs and initiatives, Lighthouse Relief strives to alleviate the hardships faced by displaced individuals and families and create opportunities for stability, agency, and resilience.

  • Distributions: Lighthouse Relief operates one of the largest distribution centers in Athens, supporting hundreds of families with essential food, hygiene products, and seasonal items each month. 
  • Information Support: Lighthouse Relief's intercultural mediators offer on-call assistance in multiple languages, providing urgent support and information to refugees and asylum seekers via phone calls, messaging apps, and in-person consultations. Additionally, they manage an information point within the Victoria Community Centre, offering a range of services including legal advice, social work consultations, and educational support.
  • Safe Housing: Lighthouse Relief provides safe housing for women and children in central Athens, offering refuge to single mothers and their young children who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. Their social workers assist residents in finding permanent accommodations and accessing vital services such as mental health support and job placement.
  • Psychosocial Support: Through programs like Little Lighthouse and Sports4Hope, Lighthouse Relief offers mental health and psychosocial support to youth in Athens. These programs provide opportunities for personal growth, socialization, and recreation, helping young refugees cope with trauma, develop social skills, and integrate into their new communities.

Partnership with EMA Foundation:

Since 2022, EMA Foundation has provided Lighthouse Relief with unrestricted funding of $25K annually. This support has supported Lighthouse Relief in expanding distribution efforts, enhancing information support services, and providing safe housing for vulnerable individuals. Additionally, EMA Foundation has provided coaching support for Lighthouse Relief's administrative staff, further strengthening their organizational capacity and effectiveness in serving refugees and asylum seekers in Greece.

Their Impact:

Lighthouse Relief is supporting people seeking refuge in Greece, focusing on emergency response, access to social services and integration support, mental health and psychosocial support, and advocacy. They have adapted quickly to evolving needs on the ground, driven by our ethos of flexibility, accountability, and inclusivity.

With the support and trust of the EMA Foundation, Lighthouse Relief supported more than 6,000 refugees and asylum seekers facing food insecurity, homelessness, and other challenging situations in 2022. 

They have expanded their monthly distribution of food and essentials, reaching 250 families in vulnerable situations every month (approximately 1,000 people, 50% of whom are children), helped 850 people access healthcare and public services, and responded to thousands of inquiries and requests for assistance through information points, multilingual helplines, and outreach shifts, guiding people to solutions. 

Our advocacy efforts included endorsing letters, policy positions, and advocacy statements to raise awareness about the increasingly harsh circumstances for people seeking refuge in Greece and build a movement to enforce the rights of asylum seekers.

Partnering with EMA has been a dream come true! More so than any other NGO funding partner I’ve worked with over the past 15 years, they deeply care about the work we do and listen attentively to what we actually need to do our work better. Ego and personal preferences never get in the way and this gives us the freedom to concentrate on delivering the best possible results for the people we endeavor to serve rather than catering to the funder’s whims. The partnership works brilliantly because it is based on mutual trust and respect. I turn to Bill and the EMA team constantly for advice, when I want a sounding board for an idea, when I need a contact in a particular field, and for so many other forms of support in addition to funding. I am eternally grateful for this and proud of the partnership.

- Alana Chloe Esposito, Co-Director, Head Partnerships & Advocacy

Join the Movement:

Join EMA Foundation and Lighthouse Relief in our mission to support refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. Together, we can provide safe harbor, essential resources, and pathways to a brighter future for those in need

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