Giving with dignity - Lesvos, Greece

It’s been said that volunteers are “lights in dark places” and that’s certainly how I felt today! Today was all about aid distribution and I had the privilege of volunteering alongside our partner Rafat and the House of Humanity team in Lesvos, Greece. Rafat himself is a Syrian refugee and the majority of the volunteers here are also refugees, many who themselves live in nearby Moria Refugee Camp.

I’m beyond impressed by the dedication and hard work of this currently all male team.

Despite a language barrier, their mini bus driver is a local Albanian-Greek. He transits back and forth all day collecting and dropping off the families between their camps and the House of Humanity.

One or two from each family is invited to the shop to spend their family points on food and toiletries of their choosing (whist stocks last) with the ever popular things being a tin of meat or fish, sugar, tea bags and cooking oil. Here they also pick up essential baby products like nappies, wipes and formula.

Each family shopped happily to choose what they like from the rails, just like in a normal shop (2 trousers, 2 tops, a pair of shoes, there’s an allocation per adult and child in each household).

Having opened at 11 to families brought over from the Kara Tepe camp today, the last families were taken back about 6.30pm. I’d guess we provided essential aid to no less than 70 families today. Quickly, efficiently, fairly, and chosen with dignity.

Papa, as Rafat calls the Greek landlord, came by and maybe regretted mentioning his birthday when he was treated to two enthusiastic rounds of ‘happy birthday’ first in English, then Arabic! He left quickly, but with a big tell-tale grin on his face!

By the end of the day I was shattered. Helping, serving, stocking, running around, organising, re-stocking, crowd control and more keeps everyone busy all day!

Never underestimate what goes into these grassroots’ aid distributions because it’s blood, sweat and tears! And the strength is found only from the desire to help others and the far-away moral and financial support of people like you commenting encouragingly, donating to containers and giving money when we can.

Donate4Refugees proudly supports many grassroots organisations, like Lesvos’s House of Humanity, and your donations have helped them to keep serving people in need by covering things like rent, van hire, fuel costs and re-stocking the supermarket shelves with food too. Every month these bills come up and we can only help the team pay the bills with your support. We can’t thank everyone enough for donating.