With winter approaching, the impacts of chronic overcrowding and neglect in Greek island refugee camps are getting worse. The death of a woman during a recent fire in Moria camp is one of many similar deaths over the past years. With volunteer support structures stretched thin, the worsening weather brings another layer of uncertainty and despair- an overwhelm seen most alarmingly in the suicide attempts and self-harm of children as young as 10 years old (MSF, 2018).
Having connected with many profoundly brave refuge-seeking families in Lesvos this summer, and on previous visits, I'm travelling back next week with two friends (both who work, through different mediums, with trauma and Gender-Based Violence) to visit and volunteer with/participate in solidarity projects.
I hope again to raise some humble funds to bring with us, to pass on to families facing precariousness and enforced dependency. Funds raised will be used to purchase prescription medicines, children's rain jackets and wellies, sanitary products, bus and taxi fares for hospital and other appointments, phone credit for people to stay in touch during their long journeys and, crucially, cash supports/donations- which will be quietly passed on to families with discretion and respect.
Though work, advocacy and action is also urgently needed to realise Safe Passage, the end of the criminalisation of Search and Rescue work, justice and rights-based EU policy change, in the absence of systemic change for now, people to people solidarity continues to have it's place.
Though what we raise here will be very small compared to the scale of the situation, it will assist in the support of a small number of refugee and asylum-seeking families and individuals over the coming weeks.
Thank you, deeply, in advance- to those who can donate and to those already engaging in many other, vital ways.