First in a series of brief stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things in Greece to help desperate refugees arriving daily in the country. At the end of every story, we will share website, Facebook and any funding pages that the group currently has in place.
When refugees arrive on Lesvos after the sea journey from Turkey, they are drenched with sea water. Aid organizations give them new clothes and their perfectly good, but wet clothes, are discarded.
In addition to being a waste of tons of clothing every week, the trashed clothes add to the environmental problems of the landfill on Lesvos, which is already filled with discarded life vests and other garbage, including discarded rubber dinghies.
Now, a volunteer movement exists called Dirty Girls of Lesvos. They collect the clothes and have them laundered at a commercial laundrymat. The cleaned clothes are then sorted and distributed so that they can be reused.
Because of monetary donations, from people all over the world who want to help, the Dirty Girls of Lesvos have been able to recycle thousands of items of clothing that would have otherwise been tossed in a landfill.
Even Susan Sarandon stopped by a Dirty Girls sock pairing party, who praised the organization as one of the most effective groups on the ground in one of her regular posts she made via The Huffington Post.
Dirty Girls was founded by Alison Terry-Evans, an Australian who has spent significant time on Lesvos and saw an opportunity to help when she saw photos in the media with beaches littered with clothing, left behind from incoming refugees.