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Volunteering at Skaramangas Camp, Athens


It is 9:30 in the morning when we arrive at the final bus stop along the A16 route from central Athens. This is the route we travel every day, to reach the camp at the industrial port of Skaramangas. As I step onto the embankment of the busy motorway I am hit by a wave of heat. We make our way through the pedestrian underpass, accompanied by some refugees – a young family with two babies in a pushchair, a couple of teenagers returning from the city. As I follow the rubbish-strewn path I am already wishing that there were more shade.

 

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After Lesvos

 

All three of us can say with certainty that we have made a difference for many and that we have been of help. The days we spent on Lesvos flew by quickly and we experienced different reactions while we were there and after we came home. This is what we want to focus on with this post: the time after volunteering.

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This year, I am going to Greece for the Easter holiday!

 

More specifically, I’m going to Nea Kavala which is in the north of Greece. The reason why I’m going here is because of the immense need for volunteers. I’ve seen this with my own eyes four times. I’ve met refugees looking for safety and security. Looking for a worthy life.

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Teaching across borders

 

“Being a teacher in the camp is at times both challenging and exhausting, but most of all it’s rewarding. It’s a pleasure to see how proud they are when they finally nailed all the days of the week, or when they got a full score on their last test. The students are very committed to reach their goal; mastering the language. They will often come by and tell you about their latest achievements, even when it’s not in class! You might just have happened to pass by their caravan or they see you around camp.”

 

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From China to Greece on a bicycle

 

My motivation was to understand more of the people living in the countries I visited. During the first months crossing China I had the chance to meet numerous people from Tibetan minorities and also Uyghur’s people in East Turkestan. Besides experiencing with them incredible hospitality and warmth greeting, I could record their constant oppressions in their own lands by political programs forcing them most of the time to flee in foreign countries. This matter has been continuing in the following month in other countries with other issues and people. But it was in Iran by making new friends with Afghan refugees and also Iranian citizens trying to reach Europe for life and death threats that I considered to try help somehow. 

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