In 2015, a shocking photo on the news made Adil Izemrane and Johnny de Mol two friends who each year had a tradition to take part in the frenzied summer parties in Ibiza, to change forever a worldview. The image of a refugee child that was drawn off on a Turkish cost near Bodrun changed everything. The two friends immediately decided to help the refugees in Lesvos – a point where thousands of refugees who left Syria because of war are landing. “We were driving along the beach and we saw the ships arriving … and we just couldn’t leave, we had to do something.”
A hotel run by refugees
The idea for the Refuge Hotel was born in Lesvos, as MacGregor and his friends rushed to help these undesirable “visitors” from Syria. Then it became clear that as soon as the refugees overcome the trauma of the establishment in a foreign environment, what really needed to be redefined was … to find a job!
The Movement Hotel will open in August and will welcome guests in special rooms at the city’s refugee center. These are 16 rooms, created from state resources along the Amstel River, housed in a former prison. It is an experiment in the field of hospitality and it will last until the end of this year, when the prison is expected to be sold and finally demolished.
“We realized that we had the needed knowledge and good business connections among us, especially in the Netherlands,” Charlie recalls. “We could do something about this refugee situation.”
“You will see this guy sitting in front of you wearing a Manchester United T-shirt,” and your mind will go straight to the word “refugee,” says MacGregor. He then tells you that he was a banker in Syria who handed clients with more than 50 million euros, or is an engineer who specializes in energy and knows everything about solar power. Many of them speak English. These men were forced to participate in the battles – By their government, ISIS, and the organized crime … so they left with what they could bring. ”
eThe effort began with a collection of supplies such as blankets, food, medical consumables and clothes. Then MacGregor, his friends and co-founders founded a charity organization entitled Movement on Ground (Movementontheground.org) to help refugees reach Europe. The first goal was to improve the quality and facilities of refugee camps. “We realized that these people ended up in dysfunctional camps and we thought we could do better,” he says. “We wanted to show the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations that there was a better way to do that”, he concludes.