I am currently volunteering at a refugee camp in Chios, Greece until November. Chios is the 5th largest island in Greece and was once a prime holiday destination for tourists. Due to its close proximity to Turkey, Chios is inundated with refugees. Since June 2015, over a million refugees have taken refuge in Greece. These refugees are now stranded across Greece in refugee camps, often with poor conditions, minimal access to information, support agencies or opportunities to improve the quality of life for their families. These asylum seekers have undertaken perilous journeys from unbearable conditions in their home countries through highly dangerous escape routes with conflict and risk. In most cases these people just want to go home, but simply cannot.
I am fundraising in order to raise funds for this unique program and to raise awareness about the refugee crisis in Greece. Any donation would be greatly appreciated! IVI is an incredibly reputable non-profit organisation and has been organising volunteer experiences for the last 27 years. All fundraising will cover the costs of my placement in addition to necessary resources, including sanitary items, electrical goods, water and electricity costs as well as warm clothing for the refugees. You can guarantee that all proceeds will be donated to the cause.
Whilst volunteering my role will include:
1. Assisting with boat arrivals by providing warm clothes, blankets and food
2. Working at the Language Centre teaching English
3. Teaching piano to young Syrian women
4. Repairing and altering garments for the refugees
5. Working in the Women's and Children's House
6. Warehouse support
7. Food distribution
8. Partaking in meetings with key political organisations including UNHCR and Medecines du Monde
9. Assisting in the decision-making process in matters on the refugee camp
I am volunteering for two reasons:
Firstly, from studying Politics, International Relations and Social Justice I became frustrated by what was going on in Syria. We have access to numerous media outlets showing graphic images and videos of children screaming for help or in pure shock from what they have experienced. I was overwhelmed. I had read so much material about the crisis and what was going on I almost became immune to the information as it became so common. I gave up because I didn't think a Perth girl could do anything to help. I started my Masters at Notre Dame earlier this year and as much as I am grateful for the opportunity that Notre Dame gave me, I had to withdraw. The frustration returned as I realised that I was writing a thesis on something that I had never experienced. Yes, I had volunteered overseas and experienced poverty, but never had I been at the forefront of such a significant event that will impact this generation and the next for years to come. I decided the best thing for me to do was to take up this incredible yet daunting experience that would truly impact the lives of others. Whilst the likelihood of seeing them at their most vulnerable with shrapnel wounds and broken bones is daunting and will be confronting, the alternative to do nothing is not an option.
Secondly, I believe that human rights are universal. No one should ever have to flee their own country in order to seek refuge. No divide between East and West or between developed and underdeveloped countries should ever affect someone's rights to their life and freedom. Yes, I am volunteering to gain first-hand experience but I am also volunteering for humanity as I believe that no one should be left behind.
Any donation, big or small, would be greatly appreciated and would go a long way (all the way to Greece!)
Thanks so much for your support and taking the time to read this.
Let's stand up for Syria,