What’s Next for Better Days?

04. November 2016
By Better Days

Dear Better Days Family,

Better Days is fuelled by the collective intelligence and incredible power of wild hearts who share our vision of a better world.  We celebrate collaboration and welcome partnerships that share our vision to create solutions that enable our beneficiaries to reclaim independence and agency. Together we seek to reinvent how humanitarian aid can be distributed in a more dignified, less victimising way, and how global humanitarian principles such as equality and empowerment can be embedded within response mechanisms that are designed to provide relief to international protection seekers. We strive to develop sustainable and replicable models of delivering humanitarian aid and responding to emergencies.

In its short history Better Days has created two revolutionary models as well as founded legal support systems, community projects and distribution programs. The Olive Grove Camp, was a project that emerged organically from a state of emergency. The Elpida Project was born from a vision to create transitional housing which would not only meet but exceed basic humanitarian standards. This vision was shared by our partner, the Radcliffe Foundation, and the project was commissioned by the ministry.

In May 2016, Better Days started their second big project as an equal creative partner in the creation and operation of an innovative, governmental camp, called Elpida. This entailed the complex task of transforming an abandoned 6,000 square meter factory into a hospitable space that could host up to 600 people.

Our Core team coordinated over 250 volunteers at Elpida. The site was sufficiently prepared and for the arrival of the first 200 residents. We designed and funded the build out and furnishing of the communal areas and the activity spaces which were customised in a participatory way with the community. These spaces include: a men’s’ space; a women’s’ space, a sewing area; an info point, a tea lounge area; a 300 square meter multipurpose space to host seminars, events and activities; a volunteer lounge, computer areas and a multi-sports field.

In Elpida, we have piloted innovative new programs and gained valuable experience. Our volunteers have created classes and activities including English and German language classes, yoga, cosmetics and hair, photography and technical workshops, sewing and regular sports competitions.  Additionally, we lead the design of the communal kitchen and various distribution systems.

With emphasis on a human-centred approach, the mission in Elpida has always been to empower, return agency and dignity, and advocate for the needs of our residents. Our approach for this project was to: engage the residents in the process of designing their living situation; include them in the structure of management; and empowering each individual to participate in their own community.

Today we feel confident that at Elpida we have met our goals and learned a lot. Efforts to include the residents in all processes on site have been extremely rewarding and the response from the community very positive. Many of the activities are co-hosted with volunteers and some are lead solely by residents. And now, residents provide activities and classes, such as Arabic classes, to our volunteers.

As of December 1st, 2016, Better Days will no longer be operating at Elpida but will be taking time to document our work, reassess the needs of this complex humanitarian landscape and reorganise in order to continue our work. We will also dedicate time to advocacy and activism outside of Greece.

We know our future is as bright as our past is proud. We see our role in this humanitarianism world, to push the boundaries of possibility and underlying everything we do, is the simple belief that everyone, everywhere, deserves to be treated with dignity and humanity. We thank you for your support and hope that you can continue being a part of our community for the next stage of this incredible journey.

…underlying everything we do, is the simple belief that everyone, everywhere, deserves to be treated with dignity and humanity.

I hope people can put aside their differences and work together for a better world.
 – Conor Lenahan, Volunteer
I hope people can put aside their differences and work together for a better world.
 – Conor Lenahan, Volunteer
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