I am a 25 year old carpenter from London who over the last year or so has been volunteering in some of the refugee camps that have sprung up across Europe, following the exodus of people fleeing areas of war and conflict in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
Towards the end of 2015 I was on the Greek island of Lesvos - a key crossing point into Europe for many refugees. Working mainly in the north of the Island on the beaches and in transit camps, I distributed food and clothing, loaded buses, allocated accommodation and used my construction experience to improve shelters and storage space. Over the winter of the same year I made two trips to 'The Jungle' camp in Calais, northern France, again to distribute aid and help with shelter construction. From February until Christmas last year I was back in Greece volunteering on various project in Lesvos, Thessaloniki and Athens. I am currently in London working to earn enough money so I can return to Greece in the Spring.
Over a million people entered Europe in 2015, mainly on unseaworthy vessels arriving in Italy and Greece, many of them are families, (unaccompanied) children, pregnant women, disabled or elderly. Now, with northern borders closed, over 50,000 refugees are stranded in Greece living in a mixture of official government camps, unofficial settlements, squatted buildings, private rented accommodation and rough on the streets. These are vulnerable and often desperate people who need and often lack basic provisions such as food and water, shelter, sanitation and emergency medical care. But now as it looks as though most will be staying in Greece for months and years to come, longer term issues of education, long term health and cultural, social and economic integration with the Greek nation as well as ensuring a minimum level of autonomy and self determination for a stranded and isolated people are becoming the key challenges.
response of individual governments and large aid agencies has
often been found wanting which is why donated aid volunteered labour is
vital in preventing the situation from turning into a full blown
humanitarian catastrophe. Through this work, along with thousands of
other volunteers, I hope to make the journey of desperate and
vulnerable people as safe, comfortable and dignified as possible.
I have made this page to collect funds for:
- Vehicle rental and petrol costs
- Plane tickets and accommodation costs
- General food and living expenses
- Provisions and equipment for the refugees
- Any remaining funds will be donated to reputable NGOs
Please give what you can, however small.
PLEASE SEE MY CAMPAIGN UPDATES FOR NEWS OF WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO>>>>>
USEFUL SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON THE REFUGEE CRISIS
UNHCR collects thorough data on the demographics of arrivals to Europe. Their results are displayed in this website and updated weekly.
Are You Syrious? is an NGO that posts regular updates on the situation on the ground along the main migration routes from Syria to western Europe.
UnofficialCamp Reports Blog written by fellow volunteer Peggy Whitfield with the help of yours truly.