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RE_fugee RE_make RE_use


The_context | people

Globally, nearly

60 million people are

now forcibly displaced—the highest number since the post-World War II era. More than 19 million are refugees who fled their home countries, while another 38.2 million are internally displaced within their homelands.

More than


refugees have arrivied in Greek coasts since Jan 2015

The_context | waste

Once the refugees reach the Greek beaches, they leave on the shores all their sea-safety equipment. This includes first the boat, with its engine

& wooden bottom, ropes, and all the lifevests of the refugees wore during the journey.

On just the coast of Lesvos there


is more than of such equipment left.

The_challenge Ecological The ecological disaster occuring is enormous and often is left un-reported, in the backdrop of the humanitarian crisis unflolding. The beaches of the primary Greek refugee arrivval islands such as Lesvos

have been turned orange and black from the mountains of lifevests and boats arriving daily. This has an unprecedented disasterous impact to the sea-life of the coasts with such materials left degrading. It can become a

dangerous health hazard for countless animals and humans. Moreover, there is a huge socio-econoic problem that hits both the last-surving greek “industry� of tourism, as well as, stains the perception of refugees to local communities.

Humanitarian This humanitarian crisis is no-doubt the largest humankind has seen since WWII. The scale of displaced people worldwide is unprecedented. Millions of people travel to Northern Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iran, Somalia and other places. Thousands die in the journey. Only in Greece more than 3000 people have drowned while crossing Greek waters. Once they arrive in Greece, they are in dire need of shelter,

food and medical attention.

They also require help enabling their journey toward the North, where a new struggle begins for starting a new life and integration.


So, to sum up, we have three main pressing problems:

- One is the ecological, from the waste left on Greek beaches. - Second is, the presseing need of the refugees for temporary shelter. -Third, the need for supporting the refugees and the local afflicted communities. The solution we started implementing is very simple. We used the boats and equipment the refugees left behind and converted them into shelter space and other products such as bags and raincoats.

Timing is key. The longer we wait to address these challenges, the worse they become.

Step 1_Gather materials from beaches Practically, this means a team of strong volunteers physically pulls the boats out of the shore, onto a truck, as well as, helps gather all materials left behind, including life-vests, floating devices and clothes. Municipality offered us to use a small truck to load the heavy boat membranes.

Step 2_Process to raw materials The gathered material needs now to be cut into usable dimensions according to the planned reuse needs. For example in the case of the boats, we needed to cut open the side ballons to get the full width fo the boat and in the next steps turn it into a roof cover. In the case of the bags, raw material needs to be cut in pieces that apply to the dimensions needed to stitch into a shoulder bag.

Step 3_Sorting of raw material | prepare for fabrication | shipping Materials gathered and prepared need to be sorted in categories and stored in a place in Lesvos (Municipality has shown will to provide such a field, storage facility) Then, they will need to be shipped to Athens for further fabrication.

Step 4_Fabrication Fabrication by whom:

Gathered materials can turn into:

1. Designers make prototypes

- Temporary Shelter units

2. Cooperating factories for larger scale production

- Bags, purses, walets, elastic wrsit bands

3. Refugees

- Raincoats

4. Unemployed Greeks

Step 5_Sales Sales of the products can be extremely successful as the consumer is not only buying a bag or a raincoat, but supporting actively the refugee crisis that has touched us. Thus we can aim for larger number of sales and higher prices.

Step 6_Returning profit REFUGEES Funds raise from the sales of the products can go directly back to the refugees. In the form of supplies, funds to NGO’s helping directly the refugees or even in, helping them aquire tickets to leave Greece. LOCALS Another aspect of the refugee crisis that has been also left in the background is the economic damage this criss has brought to local business depending on tourism. Funds raised can target after careful examination, such cases and also assist large cleaning operations in afflicted areas.

Step 1_Gather materials from beaches

Step 2_Process to raw materials Step 3_Sorting of raw materials | preparation for fabrication | shipping

Step 4_Fabrication

Boat_scenario | shelter large plastic membrane x1

wooden planks from bottom of boat x 10

Initial boat

engine x1

large ropes from the sides of the boat x2

In PIKPA, Lesvos we managed in the span of 5 days to close 6 shelters with material gathered from the beaches only using the existing steel structure of the little tents

Life-vests_scenario | bags

reDO | bags |


Life-vests_scenario | raincoats

Re-making raincoats from the waterproof fabric of the life-vests is simple, quick to fabricate and directly deliverable back to the refugees.

The_team Jai Mexis

Project Coordianator Humanitarian Architect

Evangelos Maroudas

Coordination & Constr. Civil Engineer

George Malakos

Field Construction expert Architect


A vast network of volunteers has already come forward to participate and assist in constructing shelters, designing bags and fabricating them, assisting in any role the project requires.

Where_we_stand | What_we_need Politically_The municipality of Lesvos is very enthusiastic to help us. What we are looking to have is a document legally allowing us to collect the materials that we acquire from the polluted beaches, thus enabling fabrication capabilities.

Economic_Support with some inital funds that will allow us to legally establish an NGO or a social business. Furthermore, such funds can help us rent a sleeping space for volunteers that arrive to Lesvos to work on the project and also cover some coordination and construction expenses, that span from transportation to aquiring tools. Worth mentioning that, once the products start selling, we can very quickly become self-sufficient in an economic sense.

Thank you

Profile for Jai Mexis

Lesvos | re-fugee | re-make | re-use 2  

We are a team of volunteers, with backgrounds in architecture, engineering, and design implementing innovative solutions in the humanitarian...

Lesvos | re-fugee | re-make | re-use 2  

We are a team of volunteers, with backgrounds in architecture, engineering, and design implementing innovative solutions in the humanitarian...

Profile for jaimexis