Tag Archives: refugees

In hope for hope

So overwhelming, global injustice.
And there is no big hope it could be solved.
Even if the hurt and humiliated people prevail, how easy will it be for them to become new oppressors. To bring vendetta to the next generation. To reverse, not stop, the river of tears and blood.
It is so hopeless, that it almost makes me pray.
There is no hope, perhaps. But it doesn’t change a thing.
The work has to be done, in hope for hope.

FreeLab 2016/17 product line

*** this is preliminary version, please ask me before you share it ***

1. Digest

This document outlines the general line of work of FreeLab for 2016/2017. It is a main „programmatic document” for everyone who wishes to support or join the activity.

The priorities assigned to each product will be dynamic and depend of available resources, demand for solutions and support from the co-workers.

All constructions will be developed and published under the CC-BY-SA licence. The documentation will be available for free.

Please note that this revision is not final. Budget numbers wil be added in following editions. Meanwhile you are invited to send me a feedback concerning proposed products and technologies. Continue reading FreeLab 2016/17 product line

Possible ways of grassroots integration

for new settlers: migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Europe


schroedinger-immigrantFor the sake of this document, „grassroots integration” is understood as a way of cooperation with „new settlers1”, who just arrived to Europe, to restore their empowerment with the help of their friends and allies among European societies. This is the logical extension of volunteer help in their transit from outside of Europe to their chosen (or, recently, forced) destinations.

The goal of this activity is to make as many new settlers as possible independent, accomplished and happy members of their local communities. Continue reading Possible ways of grassroots integration

The Big Hot Box

Gluing is not my strongest side, it appears. We decided to create a big “haybox” for a volunteer kitchen in Idomeni camp. Almost one meter across, half meter tall pot was selected as a test unit. And a lot of gluing was in order – a lot of “learning situations”, thus.

Mark 1 and 2.

In the beginning, the idea was to create a rigid (foam + plywood), foldable bottom. Side walls and the top were to be sewn as a loose two-walled bag, with some kind of thermal insulation between walls. Unfortunately, the sewing team somehow could not make it and two attempts of gluing plywood halves to the blocks of foam failed.

I still believe this design is the best (perhaps we would quit the idea of folding base), but to make it work we need our own sewing machine and more experience in gluing big area elements.

Neither the montage glue nor PU foam worked, mostly because I had no clamps to keep the elements together. Putting pressure of 40 kG of water was not enough to succeed.

Mark 3

So, I changed the concept for this time. Due to transport needs, the box itself is divided in two halves. It can stay like that, being put together only when the pot is in, or we can glue it after delivery. Up to the end users.

To prevent melting, the bottom will be protected with a plywood panel.

The cover is from two foam plates, glued with PU foam.

All setup is rather clumsy, but will work. Fir internal filling, recycled SOS blankets will be good enough. Basically anything “warm” will do, as the foam protects the content well enough.

Expected delivery: Friday, 12.02.2016

The photo-story:

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The Settlers

Towards a network of support for ex-refugees and their hosting communities

It is not about what they did to you. It is about what you did with what they did to you.

the-settlersLooking ahead, I see a great opportunity for European communities. The influx of refugees not only brought a lot of business to economies involved and released a lot of social energy (which hopefully will be later available to deal with other problems). It also forced large part of population out of their comfort zones, giving an opening for new thinking and new social practices2.

In this text I will try to outline a concept of international network to support the process of integration of migrants in the places they stay and live for longer. Neither the newcomers nor the hosting community are involved in it by choice – this is essential. But they (we) are involved anyway. And still we have enough margin within the confines imposed by „powers that be” to make the best out of it – best for us all. Continue reading The Settlers

Refugee ShelterBed

Helping the Humanity
Helping the Humans

The people who helped make the ShelterBed idea all real — in wood, metal and fabric — are Gillian and Tony Taylor-Smith. In Ireland, they co-run Help for Humans, a damn efficient and professional group to support refugees in Europe. They have a huge group of generous Irish people who pool a lot of money and stuff, later being expertly sorted, packed, labeled and sent, wherever the need is the most dire. And — if you happen to be in Ireland or around — they always can use additional hands, sensibly chosen donation in kind or few quids. Just sayin’.

The ShelterBed was on the Petros’ drawing board for weeks, before it was considered a pressing need. The idea was simple: to build a (relatively) inexpensive modular bed, to be used in refugee camps and other premises.

As usual, we paid a lot of attention to make the construction available for every Greek woodworker. It is licensed under CC-BY-SA license. It is made simple. It is modular and can be combined in several ways:

  1. Simply a bed. A frame with stretched fabric, on four legs. Lightweight, durable, economical. The cost in the mass production scale (series of 500 beds and more) is well below 40 Euro.
  2. A bed with canopy. We add a simple construction to hold a canopy. It can be just a mesh, to provide privacy within bigger shelter, a plastic foil (transparent or not) or a thermal (metalized) tarp.
  3. A stacked bunk bed. With four additional pillars, fastened to the basic configuration (legs as the joining parts), we may have up to three levels. Steel cable cross-beams, external anchor for stability, full canopy and ladder in options. A bloody refugee capsule hotel. :)
Even clumsy Mark 1 is better than nothing. We gave it to its first happy users and got back to work on improvement.
Even clumsy Mark 1 is better than nothing. We gave it to its first happy users and got back to work on improvement.

We started with Mark 1, a crude timber contraption, screwed together in one day (material shopping included). Clumsy as it was, it triggered enough interest and advice for the people to move us ahead towards Mark 2 — partially machined and much sturdier. Now (28.11.2015) we are getting ready for Mark 3 — steel angle legs, better fabric stretch, full option set.


  • Approximate cost of one basic bed is under 40 Euro.
  • We are able to manufacture 500 beds per week with no stretch. The manufacturing hub is near Thessaloniki.
  • In case of immediate need for bigger volume, we can run three shifts, which will safely upgrade capacity to over 1000-1200 sets per week.
  • Beds will be shipped IKEA style: flat-packed, with a graphic assembling instruction. All necessary elements and simple tools will be attached.
  • We have a deal with a carrier company Athinaika, that is able to deliver beds on pallets countrywide.
  • From the release of mass production model (probably Mark 3) we will publish all necessary production documentation under the CC-BY-SA licence, making it possible to produce beds wherever they are needed.
  • As soon as we receive first batch order, a fundraiser will be announced to cover the production and delivery costs. So stay tuned.