Standing with Refugees Podcast: Zoe Papadopoulou – Idomeni’s Greek Volunteer Movement

30/04/18

We worked closely with our good friend Zoe when she was the UNHCR Officer at Alexandreia refugee camp but she was supporting refugees as a volunteer 18 months before that. She was part of the very first response at Idomeni.

As 19 Refugee Support volunteers begin their week long walk to re-trace the refugee route from Idomeni to Skopje, Zoe talks about how she witnessed the border at Idomeni go from some empty fields in early 2015 to the largest sprawling camps in Europe 12 months later, populated by people who had made epic and exhausting journeys.

Speaking to both John and Paul, Zoe talks about this enormous upheaval in a rural community and how thousands of local Greek people organised to provide food, clothing and medical care to tens of thousands of refugees in transit long before the government, other agencies or international volunteers were helping.

Many citizens of Northern Greece have grandparents and great grandparents who were refugees themselves so they know how traumatic it is to be forced to leave your home.

In an emotional recollection, it is a story of human solidarity, supporting each other, but being part of it came at a huge price.

Govenerments must do more.

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