Who we are
Together for Better Days is a Swiss registerd non-governmental organisation formally founded in Zurich in January 2016. Better Days Greece was established in early 2016 in reponse to the influx of refugees arriving on Lesvos, Greece. Together we are known as ‘Better Days’.
Our first project was the Olive Grove, an unofficial camp adjacent to the Hotspot of Moria, to support the thousands of people passing through the official camp. Within 6 months from the day of its birth, Better Days managed to provide aid to approximately 70,000 people. Better Days Greece remains the main implementing partner of Together for Better Days. We support innovative independent projects designed as alternative responses to the refugee crisis in Greece. To this day we have supported over 21 projects run by grassroots organizations in Greece.
Better Days is founded by Elena Moustaka & Anrika Velychko. It runs by a diverse team of people from across the world. The team is united by a fierce determination to bring humanity and compassion into the delivery of humanitarian aid and particularly challenge the idea of space creation in refugee set-ups. Whether we are doing emergency response, legal support or working in emergency education, we continue to emphasize the importance of participatory practices, supporting and collaborating with local efforts, and fostering agency among the communities we support.
Our work is imbued with a sense of responsibility for the impact our actions have on the mental and physical well-being and futures of the people we work with. We strive to improve quality of life for displace populations while developing sustainable humanitarian programmes and applying replicable mechanisms. We believe this two-pronged approach is essential to counteract the many negative results we see on the ground arising from an outdated and inefficient system of humanitarian aid delivery. Underlying everything we do is the simple belief that everyone, everywhere, deserves to be treated with dignity and humanity.
Our most known project to date are:
- The Olive Grove, informal camp adjacent to Moria Camp (2015-2016)
- Elpida Refugee Camp, formal camp in Thessaloniki for vulnerable Syrian families (2017)
- Gekko Kids, school for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (2017 – ongoing)
- ECO-Hub, a permaculture and garden in a refugee community centre (2017 – ongoing)
- TAPUAT, a child and family support hub (2018 – ongoing)
Together with our partners, growing community of followers, and sponsors we seek to reinvent how humanitarian aid can be distributed in a more dignifying and de-victimizing way. We address how global humanitarian principles such as equality and empowerment can be embedded within the management style and the response mechanisms designed to provide relief to international asylum seekers.
Better Days’ operations to date have been entirely dependent on private funding with our biggest supporter and ally to this day being Institut Le Rosey.
“We are in the business of reclaiming humanity.”
” We came together because it was simply the right thing to do…in a world full of darkness, we are showing that humanity can prevail. Our biggest mission is not only to nurture bodies but also to nurture souls. Better Days is fueled by the incredible power of open hearts and minds. “
Elena Moustaka & Kiki Velychko
FOUNDERS AND DIRECTORS
” We have a choice. We can be pessimists. We can resign ourselves to the idea that nothing is going to work. We can give up and in turn insure that the worst will happen. Or, we can grasp the opportunities that do exist, the rays of hope that do exist, and say ‘well, maybe we can make it a better world’. For me, that’s not much of a choice. “
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
” If you think you are too small to be effective, then you have never been in bed with a mosquito. “
” In this world of problems and unrest, a community of passionate individuals working towards a common goal, is the only way forward. For me, Better Days brings people to create a global community with, creativity and evolutionary magic. “
” We did it because we could. The freedom to enact change is not to be wasted. My heart lead me here and it won’t let me leave. “
“I can’t imagine not doing this work. Every little bit you can do makes a difference – including the smile you greet someone with, and Better Days is full of smiles.”
“Too often we jump to the conclusion that something is impossible simply because we cannot see the solution. No one knows enough to be a pessimist.”
“Everyone deserves a safe and comfortable place to live. No one should live in fear. Volunteering is the best thing I have ever done, and I plan to keep working until we achieve worldwide peace.”
WEB & SHIFT LEAD
“I realized that I am not helpless – that I, as an individual, am a ressource and possess the power and will to make a – somewhat little – impact; but also that as we gather so does our ability to make a difference.”