Passion only is not enough to provide help, but the skills, knowledge and experiences that you learn from others can.
This gave me the motivation and strength to succeed. The island of Lesvos is the first place refugees arrive too after crossing the Turkish border into the uncertain Sea on unsafe boats, hoping for a decent life and to avoid their children the scourge of wars and conflicts.
I participated with a number of young humanitarian workers from 12 countries in the “Think Human” program on Lesvos. Over the days of the program that was held in Votsala Hotel , where the training and the joint meeting took place, many experiences, discussions and debates were held that have greatly affected our cognitive and humanitarian selves.
Many subjects were discussed regarding the refugees and the dangers they face. How do the volunteers of the island and the various organizations deal with the refugees, especially after the economical crisis in Greece? We also met with young volunteers in the refugee camps and visited the “Kara Tepe” refugee camp. We acquainted ourselves with the role of the local administration, as we understood more the way the locals, the municipality and the voluntary units cooperate to confront the refugee crisis.
It was truly a unique experience, as we realized that the first concern of the people was to deal humanely with the refugees and to provide all their basic needs as well as the standards of a decent life. This has now evolved into a desire to develop the skills of the refugees and provide a comfortable environment for them to embrace their creativity and enable them to work.
April 2017 was the first phase of the program “Think Human”, and we had the opportunity to strengthen the common ground that brings us all together, which is humanity. We have been able to transcend other considerations. The differences of nationality, religion and class have vanished. We build our relationship based on human value.
It was painful to see people risking their lives in the hope of life. Many of the children still had bright, innocent smiles. The mothers were clearly expressing their feelings, a mixture of feelings between hope for a better life for their children and grief of leaving their home country behind. This is part of what we felt during our various visits to the refugee’s camp and to the refugee’s Support center.
As for the volunteers who work directly with the refugees, their stories were very inspiring. As the reason for the efforts they do, is their belief in the importance of humans, regardless of their economical status or any other considerations. I remember that Dutch girl who expressed her experience with joy and sorrow at the same time. She expressed her happiness to provide assistance and her role in the camp. Her happiest moments were described as the times she felt a sense of reassurance from the refugees after they survived from a journey of high risk, while her hardest moment were when she heard the suffering and stories of refugees.
It is indeed a hard situation that makes it difficult for everyone to leave their home country and immigrate to another foreign country with a sole hope of life.
Here we are at the most important stage of the “Think Human” program. What we witnessed drive us to wonder – people who work in the humanitarian field – How can we be more effective and what can we do more to contribute to a decent life for refugees or at least to alleviate their suffering?
The first phase of the “Think Human” program is over; so each of us – youth workers –returns home carrying a new promise. To answer the question: how can we be more positive and more humane?