A Life Jacket Story

Safe Passage Bags

Photos & Text: Mert Çakır

Greece, one of the islands near Turkey Mytilene (Lesvos) was able to managed to reach to today, thousands of immigrants reaching the island. The lifejackets used turned into a symbol reflecting the times of migration and humanitarian crisis. Many artists produced many works of art using the life jacket metaphor during the intense humanitarian crisis. The journeys of these life jackets, which the refugees took off with their dear life every time they set foot on the land and left on the beach, did not end on the beach. Hundreds of thousands of life jackets stand on a hill in the historic town of Molivos on the island of Lesbos, which is also used as a town garbage dump. The name of the life jacket graveyard has been given here. Each vest represented an immigrant who came to the island. The first and long-term venue for some refugees on the island is the Moria refugee camp. There are nearly 20 thousand refugees in the Moria Refugee Camp. Since there are no refugees in the Moria camp, which is an old prison, tents have been set up by volunteers and non-governmental organizations in the olive grove opposite. The relationship of the refugees living in bad conditions with the island is quite strong. There are many non-governmental organizations operating for refugees in Lesbos. One of them is a non-governmental organization called Mosaic. Immigrants working in Mosaic cut and cut the lifejackets in this waste state and turn them into bags, wallets, notebook bags, and many similar products. In the production workshop, refugees from Afghan, Bangladesh, Iran and Iraq work in the recycling business, and the organization part is mostly European volunteers. Mosaic also acted as a bridge over the island residents and immigrants. Life jackets, which have a traumatic image while crossing the sea, are now recycled and are among the daily use tools.