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.
NEW TO PODCASTS?
You can listen online by pressing play above. Or you can download it by clicking on the little down arrow.
A better idea is to have our weekly episodes automatically downloaded to your mobile so you never miss one. You will need a podcast or podcatcher app.
On an iPhone: ‘Podcasts’ is already on your phone. Open the app, search for ‘Standing with Refugees’, click on our show (it has our red logo), then click Subscribe.
With iTunes: Open iTunes, search for ‘Standing with Refugees’, click on our show (it has our red logo), then click Subscribe. Or just click on this Apple Podcasts logo and View in iTunes:
On Android: Download an app. We use Podbean but Podcast Addict or Podcast Player are others. Search for ‘Standing with Refugees’, click on our show (it has our red logo), then click either Subscribe or Follow.
Then, every Monday morning, our show will magically appear on your mobile and you can listen wherever and whenever you want. These apps have setting so that they will only download over WiFi so they don’t use up your data allowance, and they will remove the episode after listening so they don’t take up your memory.