Now we are home again after a rather short stay in Greece.
The main goal of the trip was to see that the family Abdi are fine. What a joy it was to see sweet baby Joanna! Muhammad told me that in Kurdish, Joanne means beautiful. Of course I liked that! It feels good that she has a good start in life despite everything going on around her and she didn’t have to come into the world in a refugee camp.
The family is so happy and grateful for everything that everyone has done. Mohammad told me that they are so touched that we have given them the chance to feel human again. It means a great deal. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this possible with your amazingly generous donations which will help them to stay in the apartment for many more months. What an effort!
There are many people who have been helping Abdi’s in purely practical terms. There are the Americans, Lisa and Mel, and my friend Jonny from England, as well as our Greek hosts Maria & Dirk – You are all real supermen! Maria & Dirk have helped to find housing for at least six different families, including the family Abdi. The volunteers collect contributions, find projects that families can work with, and help them with everything from the asylum application to other official matters. Without volunteers, none of this would be possible.
On this trip, my husband Tomas and I also worked a couple of days at the camp in Idomeni camp on the border to Macedonia. There are still about 14,000 people at the camp. Some people we talked to told me that they had been there for 4 months. First in the rain, snow and mud. Now in the oppressive heat, insects and dust.
The positive thing is that the camp is more organised than the last time I was there. There are more volunteers and finally there are aid organisations on the ground.
An amazing project that moved me to tears was seeing a volunteer friend I had met in Lesbos, Spanish David. He has started an organization called the Ekoproject. Among many other activities the Ekoproject has started a school in the camp. I will write more about the Ekoproject soon. After the donations to the Abdi family, Tomas and I decided to give the rest of the money to help the Ekoproject in their efforts to give the children in the camp an opportunity for a much missed schooling.
It is magical to see happy kids sitting in the classroom learning English words and counting in their maths class. I am very glad that we can support them. The school is an important part in getting these children to feel a degree of normality in what is otherwise a terribly hard everyday life, on top of all the hard experiences they carry inside.
I have received so much positive energy of witnessing how people from so many different countries in the world come together to organize themselves and spontaneously and selflessly help others.
The grass roots has rallied together and started various volunteering projects without any politics or bureaucracy, managing to be amazingly effective and do a really good job under tough circumstances. Very often, their efforts are better than the large aid organisations. Both are needed, of course, as the heavy players can reach out with larger quantities of supplies, but they are also slow to start and many times, they are not present where they are most needed – in my opinion.
What has struck me – and makes me humble – is that I have seen so much kindness and selflessness, both in those who contribute to the way they can at home, with the volunteers on the ground – and in the hearts of the people who are fleeing. It shows me, people are basically good and wish each other well. See this clearly helped me to handle all hell I have witnessed on my travels, the indescribable misery I have witnessed at close range, the children who are hurt and all the extreme grief in people’s eyes.
The forces of evil, racism and right-wing extremism exists, of course, but these evil forces and mislead opinions take way too much space in the media. It is easy to think that the world is crazy. But I am convinced that the humanitarian movement that arises when people need help and support is so much bigger than those forces. To see that gives hope and a joy and an energy to continue to help.
If you would also like you to continue to help us, and are in Sweden, please Swish me on: 0736800444. Every penny really does make a huge difference.
I would like to thank each and every one of you personally for all your generous donations and support. Please know that you are not forgotten.
If you are outside Sweden you can donate here: http://gogetfunding.com/together-we-make-a-difference/