The Humans of Pikpa is a storytelling project about the residents, staff and volunteers that make up the community of Pikpa refugee camp on Lesvos island, Greece. The project was based on the ‘Humans of New York’ model (and other ‘Humans of’ projects), whereby participants share a brief, illuminating story about their lives. It was undertaken by volunteers towards the end of 2019. 


Since that time Lesvos has been afflicted by violent attacks on refugees, volunteers and premises used to support those affected by the crisis; the world has been racked by the COVID 19 pandemic that presents a disproportionate threat to those accommodated in overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps. It seems even more important than ever now that people read the powerful, sorrowful and invariably, defiantly, hopeful stories of those involved in the refugee crisis, and join the campaign for sustainable action to alleviate the situation. 


Pikpa is an environment where people can find dignity, love, safety and respect. These are the values that underpin, and clearly emerge from, the stories in ‘The Humans of Pikpa.

“I have met a lot of good people here. My friends keep me going”

“I have met a lot of good people here. My friends keep me going”

My sister likes snakes, but I don’t. We had so many pets at home in Iraq. It was more of a zoo than a house! We were in difficult situations before we came here. When we got the letter in Iraq we were in a very bad way physically and psychologically. Then when we arrived at Moria we saw terrible things, even worse than Iraq.

Now we are okay. We accept the reality of our situation and share in the evolution of Pikpa. This project should grow and get bigger. They should bring vulnerable people in Moria here. In Moria a lot of people get damaged.  

In Pikpa I make doghouses out of wood. This is my talent. I like carpentry and karate. Maybe I could do karate with the wood!

The other day I was asleep in my friend’s flat. He put a speaker next to my head to play some music. It was so loud! My friend also has a video of me with the vacuum cleaner on my face – like Botox! I have met a lot of good people here. My friends keep me going.

Interviews by Tom Adams and Aud Steinsbekk / Editing by Tom Adams

Photo by Knut Tinagent


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