Are you considering volunteering for “Dråpen i Havet? Act now! -We need more hands to help in the refugeecamps. A lot of people are in need of assistance, says Janne Hegna and Ina Søhus coordinators on Chios.
Sign up as a volunteer now: http://www.drapenihavet.no/en/volunteer/
Souda – largest refugee camp in Chios
The sun is out. No clouds in the sky. Tourists in vacation mode enjoying cold drinks in the shade. Not far away there is a grimmere reality.
Janne Hegna and Ina Søhus and six other “Drops” ensures that lunch is served to about 1100 refugees in the largest camp, Souda. The queue of hungry people is long. A little bickering about the place in the line, but there is also laughter and smile. Everyone here is aware of the seriousness of the situation for the refugees. Moste of the refugees find themselves in a stalemate on this little island. But it is of mutual interest making everyday life as good as possible.
We can help, you can make a difference
-The key word is humanity, says Janne Hegna. In 2016 she has working long days to coordinate the arrivals of the volunteers, fix things and finding solutions to acute challenges.
-I could probably work around the clock (24hr/24) with the practical challenges, been in discussions with local governments and other charities. But I have made a choice to focus on the one person who is in front of me. That is what is our volunteer´s strength. We are with the people. We are close to the refugees all the time. We try to provide care and comfort, “she says.
Ina Søhus is the second Coordinator. With shorter experience, but with just as much energy. The coordinators are the “anchors” of the organization “Dråpen i Havet”
Have you been a “Drop” once, it’s almost certain that you plan your next trip even before you leave the camp. This was the case for Ina. The way from “regular” volunteer to the coordinator-role with the larger tasks was short.
-I was not prepared for what I would meet. I had been working with refugees in Norway, and thought I knew what I could expect to meet. But this is something else. It is a very direct way to meet people. Here, it’s about making quick decisions and find solutions to challenges that pop up, “she said.
The situation has changed
We talk about the time before and after the European Union and Turkey signed the agreement at the end of March. Earlier the volunteers worked to salvage the boat refugees who landed on the shores. The 20th of March, everything changed. Nearly 60,000 refugees are actually stuck in Greece. A great number under inhumane conditions.
-Here at Chios, we see the result of this policy. It is a shame. And the worst thing about it all is that nobody tells this story. Around us the world goes on as if nothing has happened. This makes me angry, but what can we do? The answer is that we must continue to do what we are doing right now, “says Janne.
Volunteers- sign up!
-This is precisely why it is so important that we have access to new volunteers. So if you have thought to contribute, now is the time. Just do it. It’s going to be one of the most important decisions you have taken ever.
Text and photo by Stein Syrstad – volunteer in Chios