Location | Lesvos, Greece
Date | March 2019, 1 week
For | NGO Metadrasi
Project | Renovation of library space; creation of bookshelves and seats, painting, and decoration of space
Dimensions | 4 x 5 x 3 m, space for about 6 children
The transformed indoor space was part of the school for unaccompanied minors run by the NGO Metadrasi. An abandoned villa located in Mitilini, capital of the island Lesvos, was rented and used as school for the last few years. Each morning and afternoon groups of children were brought by school bus from camp Moria and camp Kara Tepe to the school. The villa consisted of a dozen rooms mostly furnished with donated and left-over chairs, tables, blackboards, books, etc. The donated books were stored in a room without proper shelves and no place were children could read them. It was clear that the school needed a well equipped library!
The transformation to library space was exciting and fun! Large bookshelves were created that reached the high ceiling. Places to sit at the window and in the cavities in the wall were constructed. The room was painted with help of the children and fully furnished with plants, carpet, and pillows creating a cozy warm relaxing vibe. The change couldn’t be more successful. The room changed to the most beloved and cherished space of the school!
This is Niels’s personal story of the painting process with the children:
One of the first steps of upgrading the room was by balancing out the vibrant colours that were painted before. Bright yellow/orange with parts of the ceiling pink didn’t have the relaxing atmosphere we wanted to bring inside the room. There was a strong desire to involve the children as much as possible in the transformation of the room so they would feel part of this new space. So, there they were; 6 to 8 children with ages probably between 10 and 18 were about to help us. Enthusiastic, laughing, making jokes, and sometimes a bit shy, with guidance of us they started to paint the walls white. Luckily a few of the older children spoke pretty good English. The next few hours I remember as chaotic, fun, and full of help trying to make sure the white paint reached their desired location! The end result looked stunning and although I felt tired, I had a warm glow in my heart of the smiles and joy in the children’s faces.