They call it “selfish altruism”. Well, maybe. I was at a crossroads, after a really challenging couple of years. I had lost both my parents, and split up with my partner of thirteen years. I cared very much about the cause of refugees, and wanted to volunteer, but didn’t know how, or where. I found refugee support online, and as luck would have it, the founder Paul lived in the same town as me-Brighton.
A meeting for a coffee ended with me on the rota for two weeks in Nicosia in February 2022.
Honestly? I was quite scared. Going away on my own for the very first time in my life, not knowing what I would face, how I would find my way, literally and figuratively.
I did find my way. And I also found purpose, courage, new friends, perspective…I LOVED it. The coordinator in Nicosia, Summer, was a truly inspirational woman. She knew how to manage the volunteers and ascribe to them just the right roles for their skills.
The interface with the refugees every day was humbling. People who have nothing, and ask for so little. The principles of a Dignity Centre are so just, so appropriate, and it was both a challenge and a pleasure to spend two weeks there.
And it changed me forever.
I’ve have now left the UK and taken up a job in Barcelona, where I’m living by myself. I never would have had the courage to do this had I not gone to Cyprus.
And I will go back. Guaranteed. It is a phenomenal cause, handled by Refugee Support in a supportive and thoughtful way. It’s truly meaningful. And for me, utterly life-changing. Thank you so much. I’ll be back!