In January 2018 The Pedagogical Institute of Los Angeles created The Nest – a beautiful, safe and engaging play space for newly arriving young refugee children at a community center in Lesvos, Greece. Over 75 people arrive by boat every night to Lesvos seeking refuge from death, destruction, and persecution. Many of them are children. While services exist on the island for older children and adults, the youngest children are often overlooked, playing with rusty nails, cigarette butts, and anything they can find in the rubble of the unsanitary refugee camps where they live. The Nest, walking distance from the two major refugee camps, Moria and Kara Tepe, provides appropriate play experiences - a place where children can be children.

"I am so impressed and inspired by the work being done by the Pedagogical Institute.  As I mentioned I have previously volunteered in both Indonesia and Timor Leste.  Often resources and money are provided through friendship groups etc. but the lack of effective training and oversight sees these resources packed up and never used. The absolute strength of The Nest is the time that has gone into planning, training and effective collaboration. Bravo to all involved."


"The space is really well used and supports children's play, exploration and learning. By and large it is a quiet and settled space – and a lovely retreat from the noise and confusion that is the world of the helpers, and the children.  One of the wonderful things about the space is that there are multiples of everything – so every child can choose their own piece of equipment in the knowledge that they will be able to continue to work with it for as long as they like."  


– Nester Volunteer June 2018

Things to know:
  • The Nest is open Monday through Friday for approximately 4 - 5 hours per day. Additionally, Nesters assist in other capacities throughout One Happy Family Community Center when not working in The Nest.
  • Volunteers are responsible for funding their own trip.
  • Online orientation is provided for all Nesters.
Click here to access the application forms and other pertinent information or contact us at
The Nest is an open-ended play space that encourages curiosity, exploration, and autonomy for children 2 – 7 years old. It is located at One Happy Family Community Center, a Swiss-run NGO  and is 100% staffed by volunteers from around the world. We are looking for experienced teachers who would like to spend a minimum of two weeks working side by side with young refugee children. As a Nester, you will not only enrich the lives of children and their families, you will enrich your own life in ways no other experience can.

Contact us at

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