Humanitarian Projects

On this page you will find short description of our projects as well as the collected blog contributions about our completed projects. Furthermore, we regularly report about our current engagement on our blog.

Subotica/Šid

From the end of February until the middle of April 2017, and again from fall 2017 until July 2018, Rigardu was active in Subotica, a city in the north of Serbia near the border with Hungary. We provided drinking water and offered mobile showers every second day. Before that, people were using water from a contaminated well. Some of them had not been able to take a shower for weeks or months. Since the previously lent vehicle was available to us only until mid-April, we launched a crowdfunding campaign for our own van which can transport the 1000-liter water tank needed for the mobile shower system. On the 12 April 2017 the refugees living in Subotica were evicted by the police, some of them were arrested. We then decided to relocate to Šid, near the Croatian border, where we continue providing showers and drinking water. Due to the rising number of refugees in Subotica in fall 2017, we moved back to the Hungarian border in November. Mid July 2018, the project was handed over to the Spanish NGO Escuela con Alma.

During our time in Subotica, this video about our shower project was created:

Belgrade

We were active in Belgrade from July to September 2016, in November 2016 and February / March 2017. In addition to working with refugees in the parks and warehouses, a cultural center was established, where people could have a cup of tea, play cards, as well as attend language courses or participate in workshops. We provided for the rent, built tables and furnishing and partly took over the “daily business” of the center. Unfortunately, the center had to close at the end of March 2017 (-> farewell to the Daily Center). So far, we have traveled to Belgrade in smaller and larger groups, in order to support existing structures as well. Since the so-called Balkan route has been closed, Belgrade has developed into one of the main destinations of fleeing persons.

Idomeni

Over a longer period of time we were active in Idomeni, an illegalized refugee camp in Greece on the Macedonian frontier.

In December 2015, we built emergency shelters for more than 200 people, and heated parked railway wagons in order to create some warm sleeping places for people during the winter period. In the period of February and May 2016 changing teams of us were almost constantly active in Idomeni. We have established a children’s and cultural center in a tent that we brought along. Children and adults were able to pursue various activities and distract themselves from the daily life in a refugee camp. During this time the children’s paintings have also been created. They can be seen in one of our exhibitions. Furthermore, we spent a lot of time supporting the independent aid structures in the camp. This included cooking for at times 11000 people, nailing soccer goals, or building a distribution center for relief goods. The donations that we brought with us flowed into these projects, for example in the acquisition of large quantities influenza drugs. Which the medical volunteers used to treat the many sick people.

Northern France

Close to the English Channel, at the northernmost tip of France, lie the two cities of Calais and Grande-Synthe / Dunkerque. There were many refugees who were trying cross the English Channel to the UK. In December 2015 and January 2016, we were there with around 20 helpers to help sorting clothes in a large warehouse, and assist in building shelters and shelfs. Moreover, a mosque was constructed and we attempted to improve the muddy infrastructure into the camp by means of a road. After the relief action, there were always groups of volunteers in Calais and Dunkerque, in order to transport in-kind donations and support other groups such as the Kesha Niya Kitchen.

Documentation of police violence

In occasion of the Human Rights Day (December 10, 2017), Rigardu released evidence of systematic police violence against refugees: www.borderviolence.eu.

After we noticed an increasing number of injured border returnees from May 2017, we began to document their cases and to collect testimonies and pictures of the affected people. Our purpose is to create  public awareness for the inhuman violence of the Croatian police and to put pressure on the responsible authorities. We are happy about contacts to journalists willing to write about this topic.

All our Blog articles about the violence reports will be found here. Some newspaper articles and Blogs mentioned our police violence reports and can be found here.