As you may know, I am currently on the Greek Island of Chios, about 6 kilometres from Turkey, assisting with the provision of humanitarian aid to the many refugees arriving here by boat, having fled war-torn or oppressive countries such as Syria.
The situation on the island is critical. Latest government figures estimate over 3,900 asylum seekers living here. The two refugee camps on Chios, Vial, the official detention centre run by the army, and Souda, a temporary camp on the beach in Chios Town, have a total official capacity of around 1,900 and both are now overflowing. New arrivals are being refused any accommodation or aid and are now living on the streets.
Meanwhile the camps are in an appalling condition. Those lucky enough to have a place, even in one of the crowded tents pitched in the camp at Souda, are putting up with infestations of rats and snakes, whilst daily risks include attacks from local fascist groups and food poisoning from the substandard provisions. Here individuals and families spend many months, sometimes over a year, waiting for the abysmally slow asylum application process to determine their fate.
Now that the weather has improved, boats are arriving on an almost daily basis. The problems can only get worse, particularly in the coming months, since all official NGOs (including UNHCR and Save The Children) are due to leave the island in July.
My voluntary work on Chios has, to date, been almost entirely self-funded; I pay for my own accommodation, transport and all living expenses, including car rental and fuel, at a cost of up to Eu2,000 per month.
My fundraiser is to ask for your support and funding for my voluntary work here in Greece. Any donation you can give will be used to cover my car rental and fuel for the remaining duration of my stay, and additionally to help buy vital supplies such as food, clothing and other expenses relating to the vulnerable people that I am able to assist.
As you will see from my campaign updates, I am also now supporting a sewing and textiles project. This space is part of the "CESRT Creative Centre", a fantastic and pioneering endeavour to provide a safe space and creative artistic outlet for use by the many incredibly talented people living in camps on the island.
Anything you can give to such an incredible cause will be deeply appreciated. You can do so by clicking on the “Donate Now” button on this page to make a payment to my account. If you prefer please contact me by email on [email protected] for my bank details. Please check the "Updates" section on this page as I will be posting my news regularly, and do also email me if you would like any more information about any aspect of my work.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, for your understanding and your continued support!