Refugee Support Europe founders John Sloan and Paul Hutchings toured the USA in June 2018 to share what is possible when people come together to help others. After two years of an incredible journey they shared this story about what is possible and what the latest situation is facing refugees in Europe right now

You can hear one of the talks here, recorded in Montclair New Jersey and see the slides that were presented here.

What were we talking about?

In March 2016, over 50,000 refugees were trapped in Greece. Europe had shut its borders. They had been travelling for weeks looking for somewhere to rebuild their lives. Most were living in the open and had exhausted all their resources. The winter had been harsh. Almost half were children.

The state institutions were failing people who had lost almost everything so two businessmen, who had been volunteering to help migrants in Calais, went to Greece just to try and do something. And so Refugee Support Europe was born. Working with the Greek community, they established a ‘free shop’ on a derelict military site where 800 Syrian refugees were living in tents. Through the shop they organised the dignified distribution of essential food and hygiene products.

With the support of almost 600 volunteers from 40 nations and many thousands of individual donors, what started out as a single shop operation became something much bigger. At that first camp in Alexandreia they founded a clothes boutique, community kitchen, language school, playground and cafeteria.

Soon after starting, they began supporting two other camps with weekly fresh food parcels, then after 6 months they set up food and clothes shops at Filippiada camp for 400 Syrian and Afghan refugees. After a year they started to support two isolated camps at LM Village and Doliana and in December 2017 they were the first support organisation to help the 400 new arrivals at Katsikas camp. In addition to that, they also had a team based in Bangladesh for 4 months supporting a community of 6,300 Rohingya refugees with food and clothing.

April 3rd, 2018 marks two years of an incredible journey. John Sloan and Paul Hutchings founded and managed Refugee Support but all these achievements are because of the people from all over the world who have helped. It is a story of human solidarity with resilient and resourceful people.

Events:

June 2nd, All day, Washington DC
One Journey Festival
Washington National Cathedral
Exhibiting at a festival celebrating refugees, open to all

June 4th, 12-1:00pm, Baltimore
Private event
GALLAGHER EVELIUS & JONES LLP
Presenting to employees

June 6th, 2:00pm, New York City
Meeting with UpwardlyGlobal
505 8th Avenue, Suite 1100
Conversation with the UpGlo team

June 6th, 6:30pm, New York City
Private event
Ernst and Young Innovation Center, 841 Broadway, NY
Presenting to employees

June 7th, 6:30pm, New York City
Public meeting
Raise New York, 416 3rd Avenue, NY 10016
Presentation and discussion, open to all

June 9th, 3-5:00pm, Maplewood, MN
Public meeting with ‘Hope is on the Way’ art exhibition
Church of Pentecost (Maplewood PIWC), 1695 Gervais Avenue, Maplewood
Presentation and discussion, open to all

June 9th, 7-9:00pm, Minneapolis
Private event with ‘Hope is on the Way’ art exhibition
Anjuman E-Asgahri, Brooklyn Park
Presenting to Mosque

June 10th, 1pm-3pm, Minneapolis
Public meeting with ‘Hope is on the Way’ art exhibition
945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, 55413
Presentation and discussion, open to all

June 12th, all day, Washington DC
Devex Conference
The Mead Center for American Theater
Attending conference, meeting people, delegates only

June 13th, 7:30-9:30pm, Montcliar, NJ , Montclair, NJ
The United Tastes of America
Bnai Keshet Synagogue
Ticketed event that includes a delicious meal from Syria Supper Club

June 14th, 7pm, Libertyville, IL
Public meeting
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Presentation and discussion, open to all

June 16th, 10am, Atlanta
Refugee Coffee Company
4170 E Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Clarkston
Presentation and discussion, open to all

June 18th, 1pm, Bridgeport, CT
Congregation B’nai Israel
2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport
Lunch and conversation, open to all