Starfish Foundation

Cause Name: Starfish Foundation
Cause Type: Disaster Relief
Cause Location: Lesvos, Greece
Cause Contact: Starfish Foundation
Cause Contact Position: Project Manager

Cause Mission:

The principal aim of Asterias-Starfish is to provide practical help to vulnerable people who have arrived on Lesvos seeking asylum. To achieve this, Asterias-Starfish collaborates with other aid organisations to meet the needs of refugee families, children and unaccompanied minors. Asterias-Starfish also aims to help the local community by purchasing from local businesses wherever possible.

Additional Information:

Starfish Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation (NGO), was born when a group of friends and neighbours came together in 2015 to assist refugees landing on the shores of Lesvos during the greatest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. Today we collaborate with other organisations to meet the needs of the many vulnerable individuals and families stranded in Lesvos while waiting for their petitions for asylum to be processed.


Starfish has played many roles since 2015. At the height of the crisis, with the support of hundreds of international and local volunteers, and many other organizations, we created a temporary transit camp at the parking lot next to OXY club. At this camp we assisted more than 150,000 refugees with food, clothes and essential needs. This effort was honoured by the then United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres, who personally visited the OXY camp in 2015.


Since the EU-Turkey agreement in March 2016, the number of arrivals on Lesvos has dropped considerably, but the number of departures and transfers to mainland Greece and other European countries has also decreased. Currently, there are more than 7,000 refugees on Lesvos still waiting for their asylum requests to be processed. As a result of these changed conditions, Starfish turned its efforts towards supporting vulnerable individuals who remain stranded on the island, including families and unaccompanied minors, whom we supported with food aid, transportation and facilitating education programs.  


In 2017 Starfish established the “Needs Hub” web platform, where organisations can list specific material needs and be connected with donors. Needs Hub also provides information about the different organisations working with refugees on Lesvos, including what each of them is doing and where they are doing it. This will make organisations better informed about the work of other groups and will hopefully encourage collaboration and reduce duplication.


Recently, several international aid organisations have left Lesvos, and Starfish has been asked to take over some of the services they previously provided at the Moria Camp, including transporting unaccompanied minors to medical appointments.


Together with local and international volunteers Starfish has welcomed and helped more than 200,000 people who arrived on Lesvos seeking a better life. 

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