This is a day in the life of a Kurdish refugee crisis volunteer

I will share some of my experiences from my trip to Greece last year. However, I am preparing for a new adventure to Calais, France, otherwise known as the “Jungle”…  once home to 10,000 refugees in Calais, about 1000 still remain . I am FUNDRAISING to be part of the team and to provide as much as possible from this DONATIONS LIST for the Refugee Womens Centre.

Last year around this time I embarked on a journey that would forever change me

I became in contact with Alison Thompson, founder of Third Wave Volunteers after meeting her nephew during my travels and after speaking with her she gave me the courage to fund-raised myself to Greece. I was a volunteer for two NGO organizations providing support for refugees who fled their homes in search of a better life.

Little do these families know, it is not rainbows and sunshine when they secretly cross the dangerous 5-mile body of water separating Turkey and Greece ( Lesvos).  I stayed in a village of 80 people named Skala Sikimineas. As boat spotters, we were responsible for alerting the search and rescue team on the water and land to advise them when we spotted a dinghy or a smuggler boat.

As a volunteer, I felt every emotion from anger, helplessness, joy, and fear.

One night I was the first point of contact for 17 refugees ( including 6 children) who landed in Lesvos. Ultimately, it was the sound of a child crying that led me to them. The photo was taken by me once ambulances and volunteers arrived.

I traveled to Larisa next, where I was part of a small organization that focused on food distribution and children activities. There was a children’s library that boasted a collection of books in 12 languages.

In a short time, we built a Women’s safe space…

We turned an old damaged police trailer into a “Beauty Salon” and a “Majlis“, otherwise known as a gathering place. Kurdish women helped sew pillowcases for the Majlis, a much needed place to sit and take of hijabs and be women.

Most of my independently raised funds went to purchasing supplies for the women’s safe space and majlis including cushions, tables, beauty supplies ( hair clips, straighteners) and other useful supplies.

We worked for 5 weeks to build this space for the women and we were outside six days a week with temperatures reaching upwards of 45 degrees Celsius!

Did I mention, Larisa is the hottest city in Greece in the summer AND is completely inland?

Calais camp is notoriously the roughest place for refugees to end up. The French government tells them its a “dead end” and many of them have absolutely nothing. I have a FUNDRAISING PAGE  to provide translation books, tents, and other shelter needs for these women children and families at the Calais Jungle I will know more about what is needed when I get there. You can also send funds via the Refugee Women’s Centre they have provided me with a donations list too!

I will be posting a series of “updates” through BKM to document my time there! Anything helps 🙂

As a point of interest for International Awareness Days currently observed by the United Nations.