Lighthouse Relief

Description: Arrived as a volunteer, I became a team leader and created resources that are now being used by all the Search & Rescue NGOs of the island.
Company: Lighthouse Relief
Job title: Team leader, Designer
Location: Lesvos island, Greece
Year: Aug 2017 – Oct 2017


Lighthouse Relief is an NGO which helps people who just crossed the border from Turkey to Europe.

It was my first volunteering experience so I arrived with an open mindset, ready to help on the daily tasks:
– Emergency response: 24/7 boat’s spotting and landing assistance
– Transit camp: transport, clothing, help, management
– Environmental issues: beach cleaning and upcycling

Within a month, I became a team leader. My role was to lead the night spotting teams, coordinate the operations with the field coordinator, and train the new volunteers.


What problem did I solve?

Once I learnt the tools and methods, I shared to the coordinator ways to put my skills into work and improve the NGO. The main problem observed was the learning curve of new volunteers who had to follow hours of trainings before to be operational.
They had to master notions such as “Nautical Miles” and “degrees” to share coordinates of spotted boats to the Search & Rescue boat. This vital assessment could change a “dangerous operation on the rocky cliff” into a “safe landing at the port”.

How did I solve it?

I worked on different project in a month:

– I revamped the Standard Operation Procedures handbook: used pictograms, tables and pictures to deliver a crystal clear enhanced information.
– I created a graphic map of the area implementing spotting tools to help volunteers during their shifts and improve collaboration between landing actors.
– I established a new spotting method by using a scale to measure distances on the night vision binoculars. This became part of the training exercise with the rescue boat. The margin of error to evaluate the distance of a boat from the land is now less than 400 meters (0.2NM) for a spotting area of more than 50km²
– I worked on a satellite view mapping the trails to the coast line in case of difficult landing. It was in collaboration with other volunteers: they created the trails and marked them with life jackets (and their reflective fabric) to improve landing operations at night.
– I implemented a logbook and best practice standard for the use of batteries (brands, capacity, age). We use around 20 -rechargeable- batteries per night for the night-vision binoculars. The wrong use of batteries can end a night shift in the middle of the night.

“Spotting is the most essential life-saving measure Lighthouse provides for safe-passage, and Cédric significantly added to this operation. Creating maps and distance references, Cédric’s guide refined our spotting methods and single handedly established the training strategy and standard operating procedures we continue to use today. Cédric is self-driven and an effortless leader, able to apply his creativity and strengths in any context.”
Jenna Smith – Emergency Response Officer

I created an artwork (1mm black marker & plywood – 110x235cm) called Collective memory. It relates the story of hundreds of locals and volunteers from Skala Sikamineas through 624 words written between a myriad of black lines.

Source: Ed Grattan - Picture showing the artwork Collective Memory at the headquarter.

What was the impact?

Lighthouse Relief uses the documents for their volunteers and has a turnover of +180 volunteers per year.
The documents has been shared and adapted for all the Search & Rescue NGOs of the island. It is now being used by all the SAR NGOs on Lesvos.

“Campfire is a rotating team of 40 volunteers working part time in the field of Search And Rescue on the South shore.
Only a few of us are SAR professionals so a good documentation is crucial for the success and safety of the operations.
Cedric transformed the knowledge we wanted to share into a comprehensive document. Eleven pages of crucial information presented in a way that professionals and non-professionals can easily understand, remember and apply.”
Nora – Campfire

The extra mile

Black marker 1mm - Plywood board - 110x235cm

“Mémoire collective” is an artwork I made for Lighthouse Relief. This drawing is not a simple doodle. If you take a greater care, you will find words between the myriad of black lines. Scientists say that our brain can remember everything, information is just lost in our unconscious. This artwork is like a brain. It has a lot of information but when people are looking at the artwork, they can read only a few words. Why? Because their brain found a connection with the word and a previous event they experienced in their life.
Therefore with 624 words it is not a single story written down on this board, it is the story of all the people who volunteered with LHR and who lived in Skala Sikamineas: the more you stayed, the more you experienced, the more you will be able to read the board. Don’t ask me to find all the words, I could not and it’s why it’s beautiful, the day I will go back there and look at the board, a lot of good memories are going to pop up to my mind, but now I won’t be the only one to experience this.