RS Express – Highlights of 2018
2018 was a busy year for our volunteers and donors. Following 2017 and the long awaited opening of Katsikas camp days before Christmas ’17, we scaled back slightly on work at other camps in Greece to focus on the needs of residents at Katsikas. But that is not to say that we have been idle by any means. Check out below what we’ve done this year:
KATSIKAS CAMP DOUBLEs IN SIZE
Following renovations, Katsikas doubled in size in October from a capacity of 500 people to 1,000 people. After a slight delay, new residents arriving from Greece’s surrounding islands joined us later on in the month.
Many travelling from the islands had been living in squalor like conditions, so it was important for us to ensure that hot food and nutrition was available to all new (and existing) residents as soon as they arrived. Thanks to the thrift and preparation of our volunteers, our free shop was able to double its outtake calmly and efficiently.
EMPOWERING REFUGEES IN GREECE WITH A BUSINESS FUND
In July 2018, we launched our new business fund at Katsikas camp to help refugees in Greece regain a sense of independence and control over their lives. Intended to give residents the kick-start they need to start their own mini-businesses, we asked people on camp to submit a one-page proposal for funding and offered up to €1,000 to every viable proposal.
The fund has been very success so far, as you can see from our recent blog update. We hope to continue offering the fund to more residents in the coming year, and that we will see many businesses flourishing, as many of the current recipients of the fund are!
Helping the Rohingya in Cox Bazaar
At the beginning of 2018, a team of volunteers assisted with several successful, large scale distributions in the horrific Tumbru Camp on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The team did a great job doing all they could to help. Unfortunately, due to a number of unavoidable issues, we were unable to continue servicing the camp and returned to help refugees Greece by focusing on Katsikas. However, we are proud of what we achieved whilst we were there.
John and Paul help the migrant caravan in Tijuana
This December, John and Paul travelled to the Mexican border to assist migrants travelling with the now notorious Honduras caravan.
John documented his journey as the small team made multiple, successful food distributions and set up a lasting system that will continue to help those in need now.
John and Paul returned home before Christmas, but we will continue to try to support from afar as we move into the new year.
Volunteers walk the refugee route
In May, twenty volunteers trekked from Idomeni to Skopje in FYR Macedoni to raise money for refugees. By tracing the route that many refugees took as they fled from persecution (before the borders were closed in 2015) the walk not only to raised money for refugees in Greece, but helped raise awareness for the dangerous journeys that thousands of refugees are forced to take to safety.
And the team raised a staggering £25,000!
We hope that our 2019 Walk the Refugee Route for May will be just successful in raising funds and awareness.
Refugee Support tour America
In June, John and Paul travelled to the USA to help further spread our message of aid with dignity across the globe.
Since then, our Refugee Support family has grown hugely, and we’re so happy to welcome all of our new American friends who are carrying out some fantastic work for refugees.
We hope that we will continue to reach more diverse corners of the world and connect with new people. Although apparently we’re doing a pretty good job so far – we were nominated for two awards this year, including being shortlisted for the Diverse Charity of the Year award!
All in all, it has been a year of swings and roundabouts. But we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has assisted us to help refugees in Greece, Bangladesh and Tijuana, and we can’t wait to continue working with you long into the future.
Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next week.
Please contact us today at [email protected] if you’d like to help refugees in Greece and internationally.