Refugees pouring onto the Greek island of Lesbos leave detritus in their wake: luggage lost in the Mediterranean, dirty clothing abandoned on shore, soaked blankets thrown from chilly shoulders. Alison Terry-Evans, an Australian photographer who lives on Lesbos, doesn’t want these belongings to go to waste. In October 2015, she founded Dirty Girls, an organization that launders discarded clothes, blankets, and other items then redistributes them to the island’s refugee camps. The group, staffed by volunteers and local employees, has saved more than 150 tons of material from landfills. This year, Dirty Girls, which also distributes detergent to refugees so they can wash personal items by hand, contracted a commercial laundry in Athens to expand operations to mainland Greece. (Photo courtesy of Alison Terry-Evans)
In 2015, more than half of all refugees entering Europe through Greece passed through Lesbos.
Actor Susan Sarandon has volunteered with Dirty Girls.