Volunteers teaching children


Our work in Greece started in 2016 when we responded to a need created by thousands of refugees traveling from their homes, across mountains and sea, to the islands and mainland of Greece.

We recognized an opportunity to help fill the physical needs and give hope in a time of desperate need.We joined hands with EuroRelief, a European relief organization working in the main refugee camp on the island of Lesvos, Greece, since 2015. EuroRelief provides much of the structure of the work, works on connections with camp officials, and heads up the programs in camp while we bring volunteers to help make the work happen.

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The work on Lesvos has changed dramatically from the days of volunteers running themselves ragged trying to house 500 people per day. Today it still involves hard work, but it also includes time to listen to a widow’s story over tea, helping a child with homework in their housing unit, and getting to know the mothers and fathers of camp. We expanded to more social care, education, and community engagement programs.  
There are less than 2,000 residents in camp and far fewer refugees are arriving than between 2015-2020. Below you will learn more about the different programs and activities our volunteers get involved in!

Camp Mavrovouni

Located on the Greek island of Lesvos, Camp Mavrovouni is managed by the Hellenic Ministry of Migration and Asylum. This camp was built in 2020 after the previous camp Moria burned to the ground.

Oasis Community Center

The Oasis, our community center, is located half a mile from Camp Mavrovouni. The center is open for a few hours every Monday through Friday. It serves as a place where camp residents can come to relax, have tea or ice-cold lemonade, and fellowship. There are games, such as  ping pong. We strive to make it a place of safety where people can ask questions and experience hope and love.The Oasis also serves as a gathering place for the international Christian community each Sunday. Since its beginning in 2016, the Oasis has seen a lot of change. At one point, when thousands of people lived in the camp, nearly 1000 individuals were coming to the Oasis daily for a snack tray with Chai. Currently, fewer people are coming to the center, and because of that, there are more opportunities to form close friendships with the people. Camp residents often invite friends, and some volunteer at the Oasis after getting to know us and our vision for the center.

Programs and Activities Inside Camp

Education Programs

Our volunteers get to work alongside others as teachers and teachers’ assistants in the education area of camp. Here’s a bit about the classes:• There are currently three English classes, divided by age group and level of English fluency. The students’ ages range from 6-17.

• In the classes, volunteers teach basic English, like family members, food items, and body parts.
• In addition to classes, teachers visit students’ homes throughout the week, tutoring and getting to know their families.

Social Care

Although living conditions in the camp on Lesvos have improved dramatically in the last years, camp residents still suffer profoundly under the weight of past trauma and ongoing uncertainty about their future. Many of them are sick, wrestle with mental illness, and experience depression. Unfortunately, refugees are a target for human traffickers, and domestic violence is common. And when new people arrive in the camp, they are often unaware of how to access services for any of these concerns.

The social care team tries to address some of these gaps by meeting with new arrivals, triaging needs, and making referrals to other NGOs, the UNHCR, and medical actors in camp.

Shift Leading

Shift leading is done by a team member who has experience working in camp. Following are a few of their responsibilities:
- Lead out in briefing volunteers at the beginning of every day.
- Make sure the team leaders have the needed number of volunteers to complete jobs.
- Respond to any medical or other emergencies.
- Support volunteers and refer them to member care if they’ve encountered particularly stressful or traumatic situations.
- Support social care in certain medical or domestic violence cases.


EuroRelief’s warehouse is where all non-food item donations are stored and sorted. Whenever a new shipment of donated items comes in from one of their partner organizations, volunteers are kept busy sorting, counting, and adding all the items to inventory.

In addition, volunteers put together clothing sets, bedding, and hygiene kits for new arrivals in the camp. They prepare orders for the Free Hygiene Shop and the Free Clothing Shop inside camp.

At the warehouse, there’s always the opportunity for great conversations, an amazing view, an endless supply of coffee and tea, and great music.

Want a few fun facts about the warehouse? Here you go:
- There are 360,000+ items inventoried in the warehouse.
- 5,000+ items are sent out and received every week.
- The warehouse also supports other Greek organizations that work with minors outside of camp and those that work with the Roma people (Gypsies), providing them with clothing, shoes, and other items from the warehouse.

Most of the donations come through GAIN and Christian Refugee Relief. Occasional donations from UNHCR and other private individuals are received as well. Sometimes supplies need to be bought when the warehouse doesn’t obtain the amount needed from partner organizations.

Data Office

The data office keeps track of where people are located in camp, who has received items during distributions, and who has received paperwork volunteers distribute for other organizations. Practically speaking, this includes the following:
- Printing tickets for the camp residents’ appointments.
- Appointment dates and times are sent to us from the government and doctors’ offices, as well as other organizations in camp, and we are responsible for delivering them to the residents.
- Organizing volunteers to distribute the printed tickets.
- Sending out emails with EuroRelief’s database information to other organizations in camp.
- Taking a census of the camp and updating the database.
- Keeping the inventory of bunk beds and mattresses up to date.


Yes, there’s a volunteer specifically designated to driving because it’s a full-time job. What does that look like? Here’s a brief description:
- Taking volunteers to-and-from camp.
- Bringing items from the warehouse to camp for the Free Hygiene Shop, Free Clothing Shop, the Social Care team, or the New Arrivals area.
- Picking up supplies for projects and education classes in camp.
- Picking up or dropping off a vehicle at the mechanic.

If jobs are completed before the end of shift, the driver gets to interact with camp residents or help with other jobs in camp.

Women’s Ministry

The women’s ministry we run is operated nearly half a mile from Mavrovouni camp. It’s a home where women can come to rest, paint, cook, pick fruits and vegetables from the garden, or have a cup of ice water as they walk past.

Occasional birthday parties or special meals for groups are a highlight. Whether it’s one person or ten, it is a delight to have a space where volunteers and camp residents can be together as friends.

Internship Program

Towards the end of 2021, after much prayer and thought, i58 began an internship program based in Greece that includes travel to other countries.  

Why did we start an internship program? We see many short-term volunteers returning for a 2nd and even 3rd time because of a deep connection with the work on Lesvos. The i58 Internship Program is being initiated out of the desire to offer something more to young people who are committed to growing personally, have a long-term interest in missions, and are looking for ways to build their ‘tool-belt’ for ministry.

If interested please contact us for more information.


“Working on this team has been one of the most challenging and rich experiences of my life. We have the privilege of sitting with people who have been through horrendous suffering. Sometimes we get to hear their stories. Other times, we simply drink tea with them and offer a word of encouragement and a referral for their children to go to school. Many times, we get to work with the same families or individuals over a period of several months. Sometimes, our efforts fall painfully short, and we don’t see the desired results. More often than not, it feels like injustice has the upper hand.But in these places of deep suffering, frustration, anger, and fear, I have also seen the goodness of God more powerfully than in any other place. He is still the One who provides healing, forgiveness, and new life. One day there will be no more tears because our God reigns, and all creation will rejoice. To this end we labor, in weakness and frustration, through translators, slow wifi, hard conversations, and tears, dust, and sweat. ”

important Info

Interested in volunteering?
Read our guide to learn more

Volunteering With Us: A Step-by-Step Guide

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The work we get involved in keeps expanding, and we’re excited to see where God will lead us!

Want to join our work? Learn more about what that looks like in this article, or click below to sign up!

internship program