Partnership Sheltersuit, Movement on the ground & WakaWaka Foundation

The WakaWaka Found­a­tion was able to send the sol­ar products for refugee sup­port to cre­ate light and give power. Keep read­ing to find out how the small WakaWa­kas have made a big im­pact.

Situ­ation on Les­bos:
Greece has al­ways been seen as the gate­way to Europe for refugees flee­ing from Africa and the Middle East dur­ing times of crisis. Un­rest in the con­flict areas, the re­volu­tion in Egypt, civil war in Li­bia, Mali and Syr­ia and the ter­ror threat from IS caused a steep in­crease in flee­ing refugees over the last few years. At its peak in 2015, around a mil­lion refugees fled their home coun­try un­der­tak­ing the haz­ard­ous trip by boat. The EU and Tur­key came to an agree­ment in 2016 for Tur­key to re­tain the refugees in ex­change for funds from the EU. As a res­ult, thou­sands of refugees are mo­ment­ar­ily stran­ded in Les­vos, fa­cing an un­cer­tain fu­ture. Many of these dis­placed people seek shel­ter in tents or small, im­pro­vised houses in refugee camps. However, most camps are of­ten over­crowded by the over­whelm­ing amount of people and do not have suf­fi­cient fa­cil­it­ies such as ac­cess to elec­tri­city.

Partern­ship mak­ing a dif­fer­ence:
The port­able WakaWa­kas are the solu­tion in these emer­gency situ­ations to cre­ate safe and sus­tain­able en­ergy. As they are sol­ar powered devices (us­ing the en­ergy of the sun to charge), those who are left without power can use the WakaWa­kas to charge their elec­tron­ics and they serve as light in the night. In the be­gin­ning of 2017 the Found­a­tion re­ceived dona­tions from the Neder­lands Dans Theat­er and van Gansewinkel the WakaWaka Found­a­tion was able to send over 1000 WakaWaka’s to Les­vos.

As the WakaWa­kas were very well re­ceived, in Novem­ber 2017, we de­cided to set up a col­lect­ive fun­drais­ing cam­paign with The Shel­ter­suit Found­a­tion and Move­ment on the Ground provide warmth, light and power dur­ing the winter peri­od. Thanks to Ra­bobank Found­a­tion, Start Found­a­tion, Van Lan­s­chot Kem­pen, and Geloof en Samen­lev­ing van de Re­mon­stranten we’ve been able to dis­trib­ute over 1,000 WakaWaka products and shel­ter­suits this winter.

Im­pact so far:
Dur­ing Christ­mas the first 500 WakaWa­kas and suits were dis­trib­uted, the second batch of 600 sets were dis­trib­uted early Feb­ru­ary. With the help of the chil­dren the WakaWa­kas were off loaded from the truck. “The chil­dren were jok­ing ‘Alibaba’ to any­one near the truck when the WakaWa­kas and Shel­ter­suits had ar­rived.” Emma ex­plains: “It means something like ‘bad guy’, be­cause the WakaWa­kas were so pop­u­lar, some would really badly want one to have one. So, the chil­dren kept a close eye out.”

The products are mainly dis­trib­uted to grate­ful fam­il­ies liv­ing in the Olive grove and vul­ner­able chil­dren liv­ing at the South-East part of the is­land. Re­main­ing sets will be kept in stock for new fam­il­ies ar­riv­ing by boat, and fam­il­ies de­part­ing to the main­land of Greece.

Refugees re­ceiv­ing WakaWa­kas use the device to shine a light in their homes dur­ing the nights. The WakaWa­kas give fam­il­ies a feel­ing of safety and se­cur­ity be­fore bed­time. In the dark, chil­dren are able to read and people can leave their tent to go to the bath­room without feel­ing un­safe. “It is great to see the im­pact we can make for the fam­il­ies in these types of situ­ations.” Emma says,

“You real­ise again how much we take light and en­ergy for gran­ted. There­fore it is so im­port­ant that we con­tin­ue to part­ner with or­gan­iz­a­tions like Move­ment on the Ground to provide people in need with safe light and power .”