One small car, two people, nine countries, 28 days, 5000 kilometres and a whole bundle of goodwill.
No, it's not an American style grand tour of Europe, but our London to Athens roadtrip - (Sam driving and Peggy giving directions, ahem) to offer whatever we can to refugees to who need it, to gather information about where needs are currently most high to pass onto other teams and to give support to organisations doing great work on the ground, whether that's by financial donations, aid drops or our skills.
We both arrived on the island of Lesvos in the autumn of 2015, when the refugee crisis was at its height, with thousands of arrivals every single day. In the wake of the EU-Turkey deal, we spent two months visiting all the camps and informal refugee settlements on the Greek mainland to assess conditions, gather information for charities such as Help Refugees and help aid and volunteers get to where they were most needed.
From May to December 2015 we lived in Athens, where Sam designed and built a community centre for refugees living at Skaramangas camp, one of the biggest in Athens with around 3,400 residents. See more about the community centre here. Peggy worked for the fantastic NGO, RefuComm, providing refugees to information to help them with the asylum process in Greece.
After a few well earned months off, we are returning to Greece and as Sam needs his car and his tools to continue work on the community centre, we thought we would make the most of our trip and try and give help where it is needed. While conditions for refugees have somewhat improved in Greece, there are people living in appalling conditions in places like Paris, Belgrade and Milan who have limited resources and volunteer manpower available to them.
But we need your help! Conditions in some of the places we are visiting vary dramatically and needs change on a daily basis. We need your cold hard cash so we can be as flexible as possible, whether that means paying for accommodation for an elderly man sleeping outside in sub-zero temperatures, buying much need medicine or sleeping bags, or making donations to excellent teams doing great work on the ground.
Thanks so much for all your support and please give generously!
Big love from Sam and Peggy