43 people arrived by boat to the North of the Island in the early morning. Thirteen women, twenty one men and eight children. SMH (The medical group) reported that one Syrian man from this boat drowned in the sea. He was 31 years old. The body was recovered by port police and transferred to hospital.
Just one month ago I asked for your support to help move H from a flimsy tent on the outside of a refugee camp one hour outside Athens, into the city. H had stood out to me from the other few hundred people stranded there due to his motivation. Not least as he was regularly travelling to Athens attending Greek language school, amongst other things.
I have to write this. I doubt many will read it or that anyone cares. But I feel sick to the pit of my stomach. Please if you are reading this and you work in any kind of official role that bares any relationship to anything around migration, please please please think about the words on this page. I feel absolutely heartbroken.
Ever since I left Syria, I wanted to learn, I wanted to educate myself. I knew education was, and still is, the most important thing when it comes to change our situation. That is why I always dreamed of going to the best university. During our escape from Syria, I finished my last year of high school in Turkey, but I left just before the final exams.
In the last year together we have clothed, fed, sheltered, educated, legally supported, translated for, provided phone credit, hygiene items, activities and much much more to touch the lives of thousands of people in need,. By giving grants and emergency funding to an incredible 150 aid projects - 95 in Greece, 47 in France, 5 in the Balkans and 3 here in the UK.
Today is WORLD REFUGEE DAY and 1 in every 108 people are displaced. People with power will tell you - loudly and aggressively - that migration is bad. That offering to resettle people is wrong. They’ll say migration threatens security and values. But we say that it’s greed and power that’s driving the wars and persecution that displaces good people. Normal, everyday people refusing to join in the violence. They’re displaced because they HOPE to live in PEACE.
We were just really overwhelmed that there wasn’t a service specifically supporting children. You’d ask “this child has this injury, where did they get it from?”, and, although the Women’s Centre did an amazing job trying to support them, when you’re trying to support 200 people in families, it’s just too much. So we basically thought, we’ve got to start something.
I had the pleasure of meeting the very wonderful Chrissie and Gerard of SOS Chai who are busy in the Caen/Ouistreham area of northern France. Here they’re working with locals and international volunteers to bring good food, a warm welcome, respect and a lot of care and compassion to the few hundred mostly African kids surviving homeless in the area as unsupported asylum seekers.