Greece is quickly becoming a "warehouse of souls" for the 80,000+ refugees trapped between closed borders and war at home. I've been based here in Polykastro, Greece, coordinating volunteers for the small Norwegian NGO, "A Drop In The Ocean" since early May. We distribute clothing, hygiene items, shoes, and household supplies to two of the army camps in the area. One, Nea Kavala, has around 1,800 residents (mostly Syrian) and the other, Frakapor, has around 600 residents. I could go on about how degrading and awful conditions are at these camps, but to be honest, I'm too exhausted right now from having spent all day in them. I promise to have a better updated info page soon. Read my blog for more info.I'd Rather Be Here Now
Donations here will go 100% directly towards purchasing needed items for refugees locally. There's no shipping, no staff to pay, no bureaucratic red tape. I can withdraw money from my account and pay cash at the discount grocery store here and load up enough sunscreen, soap, womens' sanitary pads or toilet paper to keep people healthy. I've been doing this enough that I know what to buy, how to distribute effectively, and I'm part of an amazing team of helpers- both refugees from the community and volunteers from around the world. We get things done in a dignified and efficient way, and I'm really proud of what we do.
We do things in large quantities to keep it fair for the whole camp. For example, today I bought 135 plastic wash basins at 2 euros each so that every single family in this camp could have a place to wash their clothes and dishes. If we aren't able to provide enough hats, shoes, socks, or whatever it is for every single person, we wait until we have the funds to purchase the additional stock. In addition to private crowdfunded donations, we receive goods from the large international aid groups like UNHCR and MSF who we partner with to distribute to camp. We distribute every day, and keep in close contact with the community to learn what they really need, rather than us deciding what should be given.
Donations here are also occasionally used for small things that other less flexible funding wouldn't cover. For example, emergency food for a family, transportation, or occasionally just that little humanizing moment. Recently I spent $40 buying gyros, fruit and soda to have a little picnic with a sweet family of 7 who had been sleeping in a city park for a few days following the Idomeni eviction. They hadn't eaten in a while and felt pretty beaten down by the world. I got permission from the army to transport them to a camp in mine and a friend's car, and when we stopped for the picnic lunch by the side of the road, things felt almost normal for an hour.
Thank you SO much to my previous supporters. I'm usually pretty hard on myself, but I'm proud of the work that my team and I have done here, and I look forward to continuing to do so while in Greece. Thanks for making that possible. I am so appreciative of your support.
Please email me at [email protected]