Refugee Support Express – Here To Help, Not Harm
THURSDAY 11 OCTOBER 2018
Some thoughts on volunteering with refugees
This week, we shared our thoughts on something we feel particularly passionately about as a volunteer organisation: volunteers on camp are not to make friends with refugees.
This may sound harsh, but there’s a logic behind this rationale. Our blog explains our reasoning in more detail, but the main point is this:
When volunteers form attachments with refugees, they leave affected, thinking they have been effective. But unfortunately, despite their kind intentions, what they actually do is leave behind a mess.
Volunteering on a refugee camp – whilst a character altering experience for many – is temporary. We can return to our friends, family, and the comfort of our homes at any point. But for the refugees we leave behind – who cannot return home, and may be separated from all friends and family – the damage that broken attachments can cause is not temporary. Hence our rule.
We enforce a no friendship policy from first contact with our volunteers out of love and respect for the people we are trying to help: refugees. The refugees we are helping are our first priority, and above all, our message is this: do no harm.
Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who have listened to and respected this rule over the years, and thank you to you for understanding that this is the kindest way to help. If you’re interested in volunteering on a refugee camp in Greece any time from January, please contact us today.
STANDING WITH REFUGEES PODCAST
”We have no other option. We have the sea in front of us, and the war behind us. We have to try. We have this chance now. Whether it’s right, whether we die, we have no other chance. So we took this journey.”
For this week’s podcast, John spoke to Mohamed Nour, who we first met at Alexandreia camp in Greece a few years ago.
Mohamed is from Syria, and was a volunteer with the White Helmets: a group who help in the aftermath of bomb explosions. During one bombing, Mohamed lost his brother as they struggled to rescue people from the rubble.
In this podcast, Mohammed talks about the events that forced him and his family to leave Syria, their experience with smugglers as they escaped to ‘safety’ in Greece, and the indignities of refugee camps once they arrived.
Thankfully, Mohamed and his family are now rebuilding their lives in Switzerland. Mohamed was an amazing help to the medical team when he was staying at Alexandreia camp, and his desire to continue to help and save others’ lives remains strong.
We know that Mohamed’s incredible work ethic will help him build the life he deserves, and this sad but inspiring story gives us hope for others.
Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next week.
Please contact us today at [email protected] if you ‘re interested in volunteering on a refugee camp.