Officially called ‘the Hospitality Center for Refugees and Migrants MAVROVOUNI (KARA TEPE) of the Municipality of Lesvos’, the village of Kara Tepe has a surface area of about four soccer fields and accommodates around 1200 people. The area is split up into six neighbourhoods.
The CampUs is led by a municipal officer called Stavros. For Stavros, and all the organisations involved on site, dignity and respect are the benchmarks that guide everything that happens. Stavros’ famous words: “Kara Tepe is a village, not a camp. The people aren’t refugees but our guests.”
When we arrived on Kara Tepe, it was nothing more than an unorganised campsite on a garbage site. The NGO’s and the Municipality of Lesvos got together, collaborated closely and made Kara Tepe what it is today. Today there are 247 ISOboxes, some paved roads, several sanitary facilities, our chai point and a distribution point for hygienic body products.
In January 2017 BWC realised the Yurt – a wonderful community centre for all kinds of activities. Providing shelter to the children, fathers and mothers during the incredibly hot summers and extremely cold winters Lesvos knows.
The number of people living at Kara Tepe can vary on a daily basis, this depends on the amount of departures and new arrivals to and from the island. The population of Kara Tepe consists mainly of Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Kurdish, and some people from Congo, Eritrea and other African countries.
Besides BWC there are around 11 other organisations active on Kara Tepe who work together, under the management of the Municipality of Lesvos, to help make life a little bit more bearable for the people on the CampUs.