Lifting Hands International started in March 2016 and grew from a handful of people to a full-blown movement.
We've been able to achieve the following with just one paid employee and an army of volunteers.
- We have a full-time volunteer team in a camp of 500+ Iraqi Yazidis in Northern Greece.
- Developed a library of Arabic books with hundreds of titles in for the camp.
- Provide the residents of the camp with fresh vegetables, dry food, and hygiene packs.
- We run a women's center and provide several activities that promote mindfulness and healing.
- Our dedicated volunteers teach English, German, guitar, singing, dancing, trauma-informed yoga to children, men, and women alike.
- When Serres camp got shut down due to severe winter conditions, the residents were scattered into 10 different hotels an hour away from the camp. We rented a space in that area and have continued to provide our services, despite many inherit logistical difficulties.
- Filled and shipped two containers of aid to camps in Lebanon.
- Funded three shipping containers from groups in the UK to the Greek island of Lesvos and another from Denmark to Serbia.
- We fund a refugee-run kitchen in one of the several Greek island detention centers for refugees who arrived after the EU/Turkey deal and are thus indefinitely stranded.
- Purchased 1,100 pair of boots for refugees stranded in Moria camp in Greece.
- Purchased 6,000 pair of men's underwear for refugees in the now-disbanded Calais "the Jungle" camp.
- Purchased 6 weeks worth of food for Lavrion camp.
- Purchased several week's worth of food for the "squats" (abandoned buildings where homeless refugees live) in Athens.
- and MANY more.
In 2016 alone, we
- Completely set up 83 incoming refugee family apartments in the Phoenix area, all with community donations. The only thing we paid for was warehouse rent, all of the money for which was generously donated by a local supporter.
- Recruited 368+ families and individual volunteers for apartment set ups
- Christmas program: 100 local AZ families each adopted a refugee family and brought them gifts to welcome them to their new country and provide friendship.
- Hosted 20+ Eagle Scout projects.
- Have met with various mayors and city planners in order to raise awareness about refugee resettlement.
- Hundreds of volunteers across the state of Utah came together to fill almost two shipping containers in one month. In the humanitarian world, this is unheard of. While originally intended for Serres, Greece (we found that shipping from the US to Greece is almost impossible due to complicated import laws and taxes), we sent the container to Lebanon.
- We started a partnership with Helping Hand for Relief and Development and have committed to filling two containers in 2017 to send to Lebanon and Jordan.
- LHI team visited Helping Hand for Relief and Development in Amman, Jordan. We visited several refugee camps and families that will benefit from our shipments. See Shannon's stunning photographs of our visit here.