At the end of 2018 there were 72 000 people registered as refugees in Greece. About 16 000 of them were on Greek islands, in camps described by established organisations as being among the worst of their type in the world. People living in these conditions say that the uncertainty that is inherent in their situation, alongside the waiting, are among the most difficult things. Many have been given January 2023 as the date of their first asylum interview. This means that their lives have been put on hold for four years, because it is difficult to set roots in a new country before asylum is granted. Many people simply must stay in the camps. Children who have been on the run their whole lives continue to live in deplorable conditions, even after arriving in Europe.
A Drop in the Ocean has completed its third year as an aid organisation. In 2018 we were resolved to further improve the qualifications and effectiveness of our field workers. In particular, our coordinators have more tools at their disposal in their demanding everyday work. This is to a great extent thanks to the Drop Academy, which offers regular instruction and training. It is heartening that many of our volunteers want to extend their commitment to A Drop in the Ocean, and that many choose to come back and work with us again and again. This is a clear statement how worthwhile and important they consider our work.
Volunteer work is undisputedly a necessity in the camps. As several large established organisations left Greece in 2018, today it primarily comprises of smaller ones like A Drop in the Ocean, who bear a huge responsibility. We work from the principle that every project we initiate should be based on the needs and wishes of those who live in the camps. Furthermore, our efforts must be sustainable and not be dependent on individuals or specialised expertise.