Dirty Girls is proud to be pioneering the use of simple environmental practices in humanitarian relief efforts: with the vision that it will become the status quo for all humanitarian agencies to include the washing/recycling of blankets, sleeping bags and other materials, rather than trashing, in their policies in the not too distant future.
Dirty Girls was initiated in October, 2015, so that good quality wet and dirty clothing, discarded by thousands of refugees arriving by sea on the island of Lesvos, would no longer be trashed. Instead Dirty Girls collected and washed tons of clothing. It was collected, washed and then sent to clothing distribution centres for other incoming people. With huge capacity machines, operating 24/7, washing to hospital standards, it became possible to also launder sleeping bags and big grey UNHCF blankets as well as backpacks, baby carriers, shoes and other materials.
Because the recycled clothes come from other people with similar backgrounds, Dirty Girls could provide clothes to the arriving refugees with more appropriate styles, sizes and modesty levels than what was available with donated clothes..
From mid March, 2016, with changes which meant that refugees movements to destinations outside Greece have been curtailed by closed borders into other parts of Europe, Dirty Girls main focus turned to washing blankets for the 60,000 people in official and unofficial camps in Greece. Often people are living in poor conditions in the camps with no bed, mattress or sheets so washing the blankets is necessary for comfort, health and dignity.
Dirty Girls uses huge commercial laundries in Lesvos, Athens and northern Greece.