I'm going to Lesvos, Greece. For vacation? Not exactly…
My name is Rose. I am a Syrian Canadian who was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to move to Canada before the Syrian crisis began. I consider myself to be blessed to have a shelter, security, access to food and education and things we take for granted that others across the globe could only dream of. The feeling of injustice and the lack of equality in our world is overwhelming. This needs to change. I want to impact this change.
A few months ago, I had the chance to meet a friend who shared their life changing experience with me. This selfless person has gone to Turkey and Germany as a volunteer to help with the Syrian refugee crisis. She opened my mind to the realization that I am capable of making this change happen.
As eye witness stories from returned volunteers, cell phone snapshots of dead children on beaches and distraught parents, and photo evidence of the inconceivable conditions of internment camps on Lesvos flooded my newsfeed, I realized I had an obligation to do more. The world has failed in helping these people.
I joined a Facebook group for Lesvos volunteers in Greece who are on the frontlines, combatting the refugee crisis on the island. Given the minimal presence of major NGOs and government intervention, the burden of this humanitarian crisis is mostly shouldered by private volunteers and small organizations like the organization I will be volunteering with, STARFISH FOUNDATION who use their OWN savings to leave their families for months at a time to make a difference.
People who are no different from you. People no different from me.
I decided to go to Lesvos, Greece for 3 months (May-August) to be an active member of the Starfish Foundation, where thousands of Syrian refugees arrive everyday on flimsy boats from the Turkish shores with only 30% of them surviving. They are fleeing war-torn Syria, from religious persecution, starvation, bombings, violence and death, leaving with only the clothes on their backs and the family they can gather, often risking their lives just in the initial journey. The ones that have made it this far, are hungry, thirsty, and emotionally, physically, and spiritually worn.
As a Syrian, I want to use my fluency in the Syrian dialect to bridge the language and cultural gap between these refugees and their landing point. I will be helping these precious ones after they arrive in Lesvos, getting them dry clothes, shoes, food and water, and providing emotional support to boost their morality to continue their journey of survival.
I am angry, sad, shocked, and disturbed with the amount of misfortune and tragedy these innocent lives encounter. Haven’t we heard and seen enough in the media? Let’s put an end to passivity and let’s be active and save one life at a time.
“It is a denial of justice not to stretch out a helping hand to the fallen. That is the common right of humanity.”
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale.
Let’s not underestimate the power of the impact one could make and and the power of collective action. I am determined to meet my goal, and I know I can with your help. As a full-time independent university student, I will be self-funding for this cause, and I would greatly appreciate your donations in order to help me with the following essential expenses for my 3-month trip:
- Airfare $1,700.
- An estimate of $690 for every month (accommodation).
- $420 for every month (food)
- $160 for passport.
- $500 trauma training.
- $500 for required work attire (heavy duty backpack to fit all my belongings for 3 months and sturdy waterproof boots).
- $500 for destination change (as the situation over there is constantly changing, I will eventually need to relocate based on the needs of the organization).
Please join me in making a bigger impact in these refugees' lives. Help me make this happen by sharing my story and spreading the word.
If you want more information about how Starfish Foundation operates and are interested in learning more about volunteering on Lesvos Island, please do not hesitate to click the links below:
PLEASE don't forget to SHARE my story with your network and help me make this happen!
I appreciate your time and generosity and I will keep you all posted during my journey. God bless.