I was able to visit with programs serving refugees in Athens and the island of Chios, Greece a few weeks ago. While there I was able to connect with, or at least marvel at, some awesome non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that I’m happy to vouch for. If you’d like to check them out, or support any of them, or go contribute your energy directly, here are some basic details:
Recent projects have provided 500 Iraqi Yazidis in Northern Greece with decent food, a library and a women’s center; provided shipping containers of supplies to refugees in Lebanon, Lesvos & Serbia; funded refugee-run kitchens, provided boots, clothing, eyeglasses, & food for squats in Athens. Back in Arizona, in the U.S., their 368 volunteers have advocated and arranged apartments for 83 refugees. LHI also works with Utah-based Helping Hands for Relief and Development, sending goods to Jordan and Lebanon. LHI collects, sorts, & packs essential items into boxes; then HHRD ships and distributes.
CHIOS EASTERN SHORE RESPONSE TEAM www.greekislandvolunteers.com
Doctors, nurses, midwifes etc. are especially needed. See the Medics for Greece Facebook page.
Interpreters/Translators who speak Arabic, Dari, Greek and other languages can be helpful.
General help is needed to “unpack, sort out and distribute food, drive donated goods to particular destinations (so possession of driving license is an asset), clean up camps, beaches and various other areas, prepare food for refugees, entertain kids,” and more.
No matter what your background, there will definitely be something for you to do!
A DROP IN THE OCEAN www.drapenihavet.no/en/our-work/
Operates in refugee camps scattered from the Island of Chios all the way to northern Greece. Services include preparing & distributing thousands of meals daily, women’s centers, mother-child centers, kids’ activities, clothing collection and distribution (using a slick QR tracking system they designed).
THE DIRTY GIRLS OF LESVOS ISLAND www.dirtygirlsoflesvos.com/
This group runs a mammoth free laundry service for refugees’ clothes and blankets. They also recycle used rafts and life jackets, turning them into messenger bags and backpacks, which you can buy.
BE AWARE AND SHARE www.baas-schweiz.ch/
This group runs an awesome school on the island of Chios. They may be easier to reach through their Facebook page or through www.Greekislandvolunteers.com
If you have attended one of my presentations, please be advised that some individuals mentioned in the slide show are off-the-grid, attention-shy or just plain hard to reach.
If you want to reach them let me know and I’ll do my best to help you connect.
Here’s a useful, brief overview of the war in Syria:
The video below includes video clips of greetings and stories from refugees:
Research team: Interprofessional Studio for Complexity Thinking www.interSCT.com