Sustainable energy for refugees on Lesbos

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Help us, the students of Energy for Refugees, to provide refugee camp PIKPA on Lesbos with sustainable energy systems! The camp is currently paying huge electricity bills, which put monetary pressure on the camp. We are trying our hardest to reduce this pressure and you can help us!

We are Energy for Refugees (EFR), consisting of seven international TU Delft students, doing our masters in Construction, Civil Engineering and Sustainable Energy Systems. The situation in the refugee camps urges us to stand up and use our capabilities and knowledge to provide sustainable solutions. We need you for the execution: help us save camp PIKPA by donating!

PIKPA is a small camp in Greece on the South-East side of Lesvos. It gives a roof for 120 refugees, mostly children and women. 

This summer we aim to install 40 solar panels for seven new wooden houses and if there is enough money a common area in the camp PIKPA. This will reduce the dependence on public parties and enable the camp to keep supporting refugees on Lesbos. 

'EFR is an initiative by TU Delft students combining humanitarian support with sustainability, something I strongly resonate with. I extend my heartfelt support and wishes for this project in Lesvos, Greece.' - Maurits Groen, WakaWaka

With those 40 panels we can provide seven families of energy! Seven families who will be able to cool or heat their small wooden houses, make their own dinner, cool their food and medicine, read and organize other activities after dark and be able to live a more normal life. Be a part of this valuable purpose and donate!

EFR is a project of the Energy Club and mentored by a TU Delft professor of Solar Energy, Olindo Isabella.





Roos van Riggelen

Anurag Bhambhani: I am a Civil engineer studying MSc. Industrial Ecology with strong passion for Solar Energy. EfR is inspiring for me because it presents a complex wicked problem, the solutions are not straight forward and that makes it interesting from the point of view of problem solving. In my free time I like to surface my ‘problem creating’ side, plan elaborate pranks on friends and play the devil’s advocate in arguments just for the fun of it.

Manolis: My name is Manolis, and I am doing my Master’s in Sustainable Energy Technology. Growing up near a big power plant in Greece and watching its impact made me realize the need for clean energy. I joined the EfR team to help provide sustainable, free energy to those who need it most, to cover basic needs like education, medical care or heating. I really enjoy working as part of a team, and am always open for finding new, creative ways to overcome challenges.

Shivam Srivastava: Hoi, I study Master's in Management of Technology. I come from India and share a sense of empathy towards the courageous people living in refugee camps who lost their everything and look upon in search of their identities again. I joined EfR for the above reason and to practice my knowledge to an area where a little effort can make a difference. I feel akin to my teammates and enjoy working with them.

Karthik Badarinath: Hallo! My name is Karthik and I am currently a Sustainable Energy Technology Master's student at TU Delft. I strongly believe that electricity is one of the basic needs for long term well being of a community. This motivated me to be a part of EfR and help make a small difference in the life of the refugees, by providing the camps with clean and sustainable energy. Working with a team of like-minded people has been enjoyable. I hope EfR continues for many years to come, making our planet a better place to live.

Roos van Riggelen: Hello! I am Roos, I am from the Netherlands and do my masters in Construction Management and engineering, second year of my masters. I have been looking for some time to find a way to make myself useful for the refugees in Greece. The inequality between the refugees and me is to big and the EU an Greece are able improve the situation of the refugees. That is why i feel personally responsible to make their lives better and do as much as i can.  

Gamze: I am studying my masters degree currently in Complex systems engineering and management. Together with this great team, EFR is the initiative where I actually get to explore this complexity in a real humanitarian crisis and where I have the chance to be at least a part of the solution for the energy needs of refugees! One good thing about me: I always try to find the positive sides and ideas even tough the end of the tunnel seems dark.

María: Hola! I’m María from Spain and I’m studying MSc. Sustainable Energy Technology. When I heard about the possibility of joining a team to provide sustainable energy to a refugee camp, I had clear that I wanted to take part on it! EfR answers my main motivation as engineer of solving real necessities that improve people’s lives, and have the opportunity to do it with other students as enthusiastic about it as I am it’s a great experience!

We started in February. We have been working on finalising the technical system design, creating more awareness and publicity for our project, optimizing our plans by discussing them with an NGO -Solidarity at Pikpa, TU Delft professor of Solar Energy, Maurits Groen of Waka Waka, Energy Club, Energy companies like Exasun and we are approaching companies, foundations and other institutions to help us with sponsoring.

PIKPA is a small camp in Greece on the South-East side of Lesvos. It is a open camp which run by volunteers under the name ‘Lesvos Solidarity. It gives a roof for 120 refugees, mostly children and women, and they want to upscale this to 200 refugees in the near future. Sinds 2012 a total of more than 30.000 people have been accommodated in PIKPA. It is run by volunteers and for one third by the refugees themselves, sponsored by Doctors without borders, IRC, UNHCR and other smaller organizations.  

People in the camp are single men, women, children and some small families. They are dependent on the electricity to provide for their different basic needs. Also since Pikpa has been there for long and would continue to do so, it would need a sustainable way to reach for their energy demand. Solar energy systems would help them to lower their expenses and provide a base for their future. The funds from different bodies like UNHCR, IRC etc which was used to meet their electricity expenses would redirect to other development activities. We can empower PIKPA to offer much better circumstances, enough food, water, integration in society, education, security and make them independent.

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Energy for Refugees Lesvos adventure has come to its end.

31-07-2018 | 10:41 For some days now, we have left Lesvos and went back to our own countries. Energy for Refugees Lesvos adventure has come to its end. We are a little tired but very satisfied with the result, especially after the difficulties we had to face in the first weeks of our time in Lesvos. A little recap of our last week in Lesvos After one and a half week in Lesvos, we found a good place to install our PV system: on the roof of the school in Kara Tepe refugee camp. By that time, we had one week left on the island, so no time to lose. We started right away with constructing the mounting. For the construction of the mounting and its welding on the isobox roof, we had help from a refugee of the camp. It took about three days to finish the mounting, after which we could start installing the PV-panels. Within two days all the PV-panels were mounted on the roof and shone brightly under the hot and bright sun of Greece. The work on the roof was hot and sweaty and we had to avoid working during the hottest hours of the day. We started early and finished late, when the heat was just a little less overwhelming. After the panels were mounted, we drew the cables and placed them in pipes over the roof. All the installations like the inverter, charge controller and batteries were safely secured in a metal box, to make sure only indicated people will have access to the system.Movement on the Ground has experience with PV systems and will be responsible for the maintenance of our system, and collaborate with volunteering refugees for this. The last two days of our stay, we worked hard and late to finish it in time, and we almost did it. It is as good as ready, only the loads of the school and some batteries still need to be connected to the system. Luckily we arranged all the final details and the people there will be able to do this for us. Kara Tepe and Movement on the GroundKara Tepe is a refugee camp close to Mytilini with 1500 residents, of which a lot are families and children. Compared to Moria (7000+ residents), Kara Tepe is a peaceful and well-organized camp. As the refugees say it: Moria bad! Kara Tepe nice. The people live in Isoboxes and share the sanitation, it is a little bit like a campsite. Most of the time the atmosphere is friendly and the residents greet you with a smile. All the children play and run around the camp telling us: "Teacher look! Look at me!", when they climb in a tree and hang upside down. Movement On the Ground is doing a lot of work in Kara Tepe. The camp is supervised by the municipality but a lot of different NGOs provide the different services like medical help, food distribution, education, activities and entertainment like sport or creative workshops. The coming yearFor the next year we will compile a new team that will continue Energy for Refugees. We have made good contacts in Lesvos for new projects with well established NGOs.In September, we will pick up where we left and make the preparations for the new team. Healing LesvosDuring our stay in Lesvos, we had the chance to visit the observatory location and coworking space of Healing Lesvos which is located in Birds Bay, Petra. This area provides a good location for researchers, students or tourists who wants to contribute to Mission Blue. Mission Blue is working on the ocean health with volunteers to protect the natural habitat and to work towards an island in which every resident of the island, regardless of where they come from, live in a healthy environment.The natural area laying in front of the coworking space is chosen for its special abundance of migratory species, significant historical-cultural value and economic importance to the community. This “Hope Spot” has the potential to reverse the negative impact caused by the increasing population and waste amount in the island.We also had the chance to see the Blue Heart which is created by the students from the New Village School in San Francisco (NVS). Once on the island, they worked with the local high-school in Petra to assemble the blue heart and placed it near the Avalaki Hope Spot. The blue heart symbolizes the healing of ocean and marine life. It will travel from Lesvos to another school in a different country to spread the message and raise awareness.At the same time, Healing Lesvos is interested in ideas of sustainable energy such as a solar powered ocean monitoring system, biomass energy from sea grass or other creative ideas!    
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