A guest blog from one of our amazing volunteers.
When I came the camp a month ago, it was only a few weeks old and Refugee Support had established a free shop, out of which we were handing out the essential needs to the approx 700 residents – half of them children! We still do so twice a week for each tent.
During the last few weeks we have been hit by two major rains which left most parts of the camp flooded and put people into a situation which I would not even wish on the people who drove them here. Everything they owned was wet, hundreds of children without a single item of dry clothes. We took emergency measures such as handing out shoes donated by several gracious people here in Alexandreia and countries around the world.
In the meantime, we have handed out items such as new beds, flooring to some of the tents (40/135 tents), solar lamps and mirrors.
Through the shop we serve all refugees with the best possible dignity and friendliness. This system has proved to work very well, and personally I strongly believe that this is the way to go.
By permission of the Greek military (who are doing a great job!) we have been allowed to renovate one of the buildings on this disused military ground and have turned it into a warehouse in which we have been able to sort through most of the clothes and toys donated.
Together with other volunteers I was able to turn a small storage room into a Boutique which has now been visited by about half the women on the camp.
I am being told the door closes behind every customer and they average on about 10 minutes to be able to choose two items of their choice. I have been told that the Boutique is a great success and the most important thing is achieved: To improve the situation of the refugees. (“Being told” because I do not wish to be involved in 200 women shopping if I don’t have to!)
Even though we have been able to change the situation to the better, we still have a long way to go. I can tell you exactly where this goal is for me:
The day that I will not cry from anger because we allow people to live in such horrible conditions.
Until then we need to have our “free shop” stocked, renovations paid for and many other materials bought that you need to buy to ensure that the residents of the camp can live in conditions suitable for humans beings.
Please visit and like our facebook page Refugee Support Greece to see what we do on a daily basis.
And most importantly please donate! A donation appears as a number with a minus in front of it on your bank statement. Here it means nothing less than meeting the basic human needs.
I am planning on staying here for about another month, and like all other volunteers I fund myself.