The experiences of volunteers who have worked with us
The experiences of volunteers who have worked with us
Cathie managed the kitchen and made this video
I remember the moment I finally decided to volunteer for Refugee Support. I was sitting alone in the pub, waiting for friends to arrive, growing tired of the internal dialogue: “What’s the point: one person can’t make a difference? Does that mean I should just do nothing? But then am I just doing it for myself, to alleviate these feelings?” Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Natalie (Oct 17)”
Beyond the camps
I volunteered with Refugee Support at the Alexandreia camp in July 2016; it was an experience of equal parts frustration, sweat and fun (I did not anticipate that!). I left with very mixed emotions, and a strong desire to continue putting my drop in the ocean of the refugee crisis. Continue reading “Volunteer story: Natalie (Jul 16)”
Having known relatively little about the refugee situation in Greece prior to our time there, saying the experience was eye-opening would be putting it lightly. The camp is just one of dozens set up by the EU, temporarily housing tens of thousands of refugees as they sit and wait on their future to be decided by faceless bureaucrats. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Callum (Oct 17)”
Clara and Marta spent 3 weeks helping at Filippiada and Doliana refugee camps in Greece. Here are a couple of videos about their time: Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Clara and Marta (Aug 17)”
I’ve tried time and time again to articulate my experience volunteering in Alexandreia, Greece with Refugee Support. Apparently, for an experience as equally moving and inspiring as it is heartbreaking, the words never really fit quite right. That being said, you’ll have to forgive my admittedly scattered attempt below. Continue reading “Volunteer story – Sloane (Jun 17)”
Refugee Support focuses on providing ‘aid with dignity’ to Refugees stuck in camps. While an incredible experience, the aim of this post is not to romanticise the crisis, as many media outlets seem to be doing. Rather, I want to use this post to encourage you to really engage with the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Carl (Jul 17)”
I’ve been home in London a few days, yet I’m still there in LM Village camp really. This camp, and others, is still NOW and ongoing, and certainly not in the past for the refugees that live there. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Emily (Jun 17)”
It has been the most awesome two weeks I have ever spent, volunteering in Alexandria refugee camp. The greatest treasure I take away with me is the knowledge there are so many beautiful souls in this world, irrespective and despite of cost, venture on a journey so as to make a difference Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Suri (May 17)”
I can’t tell anyone exactly why we decided to spend Christmas and New Year on camp Alexandria. Other than the horrific news articles we had read and watched, I suppose there were some selfish motives: Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Chris (Dec 16 and Mar 17)”
The word wonderful isn’t one that you’d associate with refugee camps. And yet, in Alexandreia, there were times when that would be exactly the right word to use. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Abid (Mar 17)”
We must do more – what I learnt when I visited a refugee camp (first published in Labour List) Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Naushabah (Feb 17)”
In February 2017 I met two people that changed my life. Their names are Ahmed and Farres and they are Syrian refugees. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Bea (Feb 2017)”
A dusty and dilapidated military compound, exposed and dry with very little shade. The incredible heat and humidity, a little boy tells me it’s hotter than Syria. Thunderstorms that don’t turn into rain. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Catrin (Jun 16)”
Two days out from camp, thought I was doing ok, I thought it might be different this time, holding it altogether not feeling much apart from missing my fellow volunteers a lot. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Ian (Feb 17)”
I decided to fight against this unfair situation I had heard so much about, I left for Greece, to the Alexandria camp, where 400-500 refugees live. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Anabel (Jan 17)”
When I told people that I was swanning off to Greece to help out in refugee camps for a bit, a few people said ‘Have fun’ then corrected with ‘Well, not fun but you know what I mean’. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Rob (Jan 17)”
I certainly can’t recall how many times I spent holidays out of town but this one is just simply unforgotten, ever. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Gerry (Jan 17)”
Before departing to Greece I had many expectations, dreams, I was in a certain way idealistic about the world and how it works. Continue reading “Volunteer story: Marta (Dec 16)”
In the summer of 2009, just a year and a half before the war started, I planned with friends a backpacking trip through the Middle East, visiting Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. They turned out to be a few days filled with good memories. Continue reading “Volunteer story: Jorge (Oct 16)”
“The worst and best of humanity”: these were the words used by a friend to describe the Calais ‘Jungle’ pre-demolitions, but I think they can be applied to the Filippiada refugee camp Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Lizzy (Dec 16)”
Day to day life on a refugee camp is bleak – there is no escaping that fact. This is not a normal living situation but sometimes there are semblances of normality. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Linda (Dec 16)”
Restituire dignità ad esseri umani che vivono una situazione al limite ecco in cosa consiste il lavoro di Refugee Support nei campi di Alexandreia e Philippiada. Continue reading “Racconti dei Volontari: Bruno (Nov 16)”
It’s an old adage, if you volunteer you get back much more than you put in.
Nothing could be more true than my experience of working with refugee support in the camp at Alexandreia, in northern Greece. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Amanda (Dec 16)”
I’ve put off writing this for a few days after my return from Camp Alexandreia as i wanted to allow my mind to shut down and exclude the experiences I had volunteering there.
After researching websites for charities working in refugee camps I took the plunge and contacted Paul Hutchings of Refugee Support as they offer structured, well planned support. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Sue (Nov 16)”
My little contribution to a better world
It was an old desire, and life gave me the right moment to realize it.
On my first experience of volunteering in a foreign country, I was lucky to join the right organization at the right time and with the right volunteers. 16 unforgettable days at all levels at the Alexandreia Refugees Camp with the NGO Refugee Support Europe. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Nuno (Nov 16)”
When asked to write about my time volunteering at Alexandreia, it was difficult to know where to start; my entire time there was incredibly rewarding. But one thing does bother me when I look back on the month I spent on Greece – where were all the other male volunteers? About three quarters of the people I worked with were women, so I thought I’d write something to encourage more men to join. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Rhys (Nov 16)”
Coming back to New Zealand after working at Alexandria has been very difficult. I’m on a train at night with loads of people after a football match but my head is thinking about how soon I can manage to come back to camp. My country seems so far, far away from where I want to be. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Ally (Sep 16)”
El pasado 26 de Octubre hizo un mes que volví del campo de refugiados de Alexandria. La vuelta para mi ha sido muy dura. Me sentí tan querida y valorada que volver a mi rutina fue muy complicado. ENGLISH TRANSLATION BELOW Continue reading “Cuentos de voluntario: Ainhoa (Sep 16)”
I went to work in Alexandria in October for 2 weeks. It seems a strange thing to say but I really did have a great time! I met some incredible people, people who have just put their own lives on hold to help others who really need them. And they really do need them! Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Ellie (Oct 16)”
An emotional human adventure has just come to an end. I can’t find strong enough words to describe how incredible this experience has been. Such a good lesson of life, humanitarian, love given and received. Helping and loving each other is an easy base that everyone could follow but unfortunately we live in a world that also raises hate and rejection of differences. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Laetitia (Sep 16)”
Bob has a lot of experience in refugee camps and said this is one of his most interesting and moving experiences: “the fantastic comaradarie of being with this group of dedicated, caring, empathetic, wonderful people from all over the world, all united in this common understanding and bond to do something of real practical value…if you want to do it Refugee Support makes it very easy”
Normalmente las reflexiones que escribo sobre la vida o de situaciones que vivo me las reservo, no me gusta mucho difundir mi intimidad en la redes sociales, pero quisiera compartir esto.
It is difficult for me to put into words my experience at Alexandria Camp, while I try it, here you have my first video. If one image is worth than a thousand words …
When I decided to work in the camp I was scared that seeing all these refugees without anything destroyed the positive vision I have of a lot of things in the world. Continue reading “Volunteer story: Juliette (Aug 16)”
I had no real frame of reference for what to expect other than the relatively sterilized images from mainstream media of what a refugee and a refugee camp look like, and no idea of where I was even going or doing until just a few days before I left.
Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Sarah (Aug 16)”
All this adventure started with a 24h trip from Madrid to Alexandreia. The worst trip ever: 11 hours waiting in Barcelona to the next airplane, 3 hours waiting to the train to alexandreia… when we arrived we slept for nearly 16 hours (normal in me).
Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Jorge (Sep 16)”
A child has died. For a parent there’s there no bigger heartbreak, right?
When a man and a cute little boy came into the Refugee Camp shop yesterday and Wanita asked him how many children he has I wasn’t expecting such a sad expression on his face… Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Amber (Jul 16)”
Am philosophising about what made me volunteer in refugee camp in Greece …
I just know the answer when I see the people from Syria here trying to keep a sense of normality despite everything and all the shit they’ve been through, still having no clue what the future holds: Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Ingrid (Jul 16)”
I’m free to come and go
And make my plans
Escape the heat
And heat my home
I have a home
Where I grow my own
Isn’t it really tough going? I don’t think I could do it….
That’s the most common reaction when I’ve spoken about my time volunteering at the camp. In answer to the first – no, I didn’t find it overly ‘tough’. In fact in volunteering with the refugees – people who had undergone such trauma and hardships (and continue to do so) – the surprise was that I didn’t encounter behaviours that were ‘tough’ to be around. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Katina (Jun 16)”
After seven weeks as part of Refugee Support Greece, we leave Alexandreia, Greece.
In the time we were here, a lot has changed. More products in the free shop, a free clothing store, shoe distributions. At the same time it is never enough. When it rains the camp still floods, the mosquitoes remain a major problem and the temperature in the tents – about 60°C – is unreal.
In one way the time here has flown, in another I feel I have been in Greece for ages. I have a lot to reflect on. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Fidelma (Jun 16)”
Just back from my second stint working in Camp Alexandriea in Northern Greece. It is an Army camp filled with around 800 people mostly from Syria – who are in limbo with their lives. The Camp is on a disused Army Base for the local Helicopter Battalion – it has ground slowly back to life as tents – 130 of them – were set up – portable toilets and showers installed. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Sarah (Jun 16)”
Tomorrow will be my last day at Camp Alexandreia before heading south again by train, back to Athens and then on to Budapest. It will be difficult to say goodbye, as I surely will be leaving a part of my heart with the people I have met here. Continue reading “Volunteer stories: Memory (Jun 16)”
Little boys and flowers in my hair
war weary little boys
with angry fathers, tired mothers
war weary little boys
alone sometimes alone
war weary little boys
war weary little boys
putting flowers in my hair
The camp is just a few hundred meters down the road from the hotel, a five-minute drive, not more than a twenty-minute walk…another world. We turn into the drive, the guard opens the gate, we roll in. It looks like the abandoned military camp it is, dilapidated buildings and overgrown grass. People are milling about in flip-flops, a couple kids are in one corner of the yard, plotting fun and trouble.
I will be leaving on Wednesday for a 7 day break in UK. It will be my second break and I am sure this time it will be even harder to leave my friends than it was last time. We have so much more to do. I do however comfort myself with what we have achieved in just 2 months.
A guest blog from one of our amazing volunteers.
When I came the camp a month ago, it was only a few weeks old and Refugee Support had established a free shop, out of which we were handing out the essential needs to the approx 700 residents – half of them children! We still do so twice a week for each tent.