For the first part of our year of travelling and volunteering, we raised money in order to help us directly support refugees in Europe. This fundraiser has now closed and we raised £3220! We spent about £2000 of this total whilst we were in Athens, and we spent the remainder by purchasing much needed supplies and taking them to “The Jungle” camp in Calais in September 2016.
Now, we are raising money directly for the organisation that sent us to Ghana – Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) – see link on side panel.
What we used the refugee fundraiser money for
Because of the amazing support we received from our donors (thank you!) we were able to buy items to support refugees and the organisations working with them. This page is the record of what we spent donors’ money on.
As you can see, there was nothing glamorous about the items purchased. We decided what to buy based on our own observations, in response to specific requests on the main Facebook groups used to coordinate and discuss the independent volunteer and small NGO response to the crisis and when we were put in touch with individual families with specific needs not being met by any charity, NGO or government agency. More information about the recipients can be found at the bottom of the page.
A note about the recipients
Amurtel: a project based at Piraeus port, which provides specific support to pregnant women, new mothers and babies. This includes baby baths, baby food, supplementary food to keep pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers healthy, and medical assessments.
Caritas: an international Catholic charity which runs a refugee drop-in centre in the central Omonia area of Athens. Caritas provides hot food, clothing, social work, showers and a children’s playroom. We volunteer here 3 days per week (typically).
Refugee / refugee family in need: we are part of a volunteer group for an organisation that identifies extremely vulnerable individuals or families, often dealing with urgent and complex medical or legal problems, and provides emergency support. We are not able to share the confidential details of the cases, but where we note that the refugee or family is ‘in need’, they have been referred to us by this organisation.
The Orange House: a volunteer-managed project to provide secure housing and support for vulnerable, unaccompanied minors in central Athens. The project has recently been established.
The School Squat: an old school in central Athens that currently houses refugee families. It is a place of relative safety and security. However, it does not get any official government support and has only recently been established, so relies entirely on donations to set up the premises and feed its residents.
Family at the School Squat: a Syrian family that we have been supporting and advocating for, in particular in relation to the recent birth of the eldest daughter’s second baby. We were introduced to them by some other volunteers who had arranged a space for them to live at the school squat.
The Schoolbox at E1: a project Tom volunteered at. It aimed to provide therapeutic play for children at the main Athens port. Many of the children living at the port are traumatised from their experiences of war and the conditions they find themselves living in.
Squat at Hotel Oniro: a new squat near the “Anarchist” area of Athens. Currently houses 145 people, mainly Syrian with a few Afghanis. Like all squats, relies on donations to survive.
Hussein and Family: a Syrian-Kurdish family of 4. The youngest son is seriously ill with stage 5 kidney failure and requires dialysis 3 times per week. They currently live in a very basic flat far from the hospital the son is being treated at. We provided them with some of the medication the son required, which was not provided by other sources.
Care4Calais: a UK registered charity founded by a group of UK volunteers that aims to deliver essential aid and support to refugees in Calais and other areas, emotional as well as physical, and to encourage the wider public to be more welcoming towards refugees. We delivered aid to Care4Calais in Sept 16 and spent 3 days volunteering with them.