ENSCHEDE / LESBOS – At Lesbos 500 Sheltersuits were handed out to 500 young refugees: a warm coat and sleeping bag in one. Thanks to this Twente coat, displaced children can endure the harsh cold.

Enschedeer Youp Meek knew the harrowing stories of the terrible circumstances in the refugee camps of Lesbos. But to smell the misery yourself and to see with your own eyes is so much more horrifying. “It is more than degrading.”

Together with Bas Timmer and Ahmad Shasho from the Sheltersuit Foundation, he handed out 500 of their super jackets at Lesbos 500. The looks on the faces of the children who got one … That’s something I’ll never forget!

A drop in the ocean
The Enschedeer also knows that this relief action is actually just a drop in the ocean. That is why the three Saturday are rushing back to the Netherlands to make another 500 Sheltersuits and they’re handing them out in January. But the ultimate goal is to produce at least 1,500 Sheltersuits for the children, a soon as possible.

Meek: “The refugee camp has hardly any facilities. They live in leaking tents. There are children alone, without a father or mother. They walk on bare feet through the mud and the human excrement. And soon there will be the wintercold. “Only a few hours ago he had a conversation with a Syrian couple of 18 years old. She is pregnant. They do not have any clean clothes and they have not showered for three months because there is no shower. Meek can not explain it. “Imagine yourself in such a situation. Last year, at least five children died in this camp because of the cold.

The Twentees working on Lesbos together with Movement on the Ground and the WakaWaka Foundation. They are concerned about the two refugee camps Moria and Kara Tepe , where an estimated 1,500 children live. The refugees come mainly from Syria.
The Sheltersuit – also called a homeless coat – is an invention by Bas Timmer. He won the Dutch Design Award with it. The jacket prevents people without a house from freezing on the street. It is a jacket that is suitable for all seasons, breathable, water and windproof.

Timmer set up the Sheltersuit Foundation with the goal of helping as many homeless as possible. Meanwhile, the foundation also has its own social clothing factory, where mainly former refugees find a job. Ahmad Shasho – a status holder from Syria – is clothing leader . Meek : “It was special to see how the children looked up to him, that he was able to make something of his life as a refugee.”