A short trip back to see our friends

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/


Going back to Idomeni

Hello again everyone!

On Thursday 11th May I will go to Greece with my partner Tomas for a short stay to visit family Abdi and their little baby Joanna.

Those of you who followed my previous volunteer trips in Greece may remember the family that was close to seeing the birth to their fourth child in camp at Idomeni; the camp by the border of Macedonia.

We were able to move them to an apartment so the baby could come into the world in peace and quiet. It was lucky for them that they were out of the camp, because it Mrs Abdi had to have an emergency caesarean section. Had they been left in the camp there would have been no help available.

We all thought that the situation in Greece would resolve itself after a few months, but it now turns out to be a long drawn-out game of waiting, and many speculate that it may take over a year for any change to happen.

We are trying to see what we can do to help the family and their four children avoid having to move back to hellish misery of the camp again. The money we raised to help them with food and bills is running out. The reason for this is that they can no longer queue for food in the camp distributed by volunteer organisations. The family ran out of their own money when they paid smugglers to get them across to Greece.

Would you like to help the family with a small contribution? I can promise that the money will be well managed. Please mark your donation “Family Help” We are also helping two other families who are in similar situations. If you would you rather make a contribution for the Baby Formula Milk that we will buy and take to the camp, you can mark your donation “Baby milk.”

Any contribution, big or small, makes a big difference for us to be able to help some of those poor people stuck in Greece, for a very long time to come.

Together we make a difference!

If you are in Sweden please Swish: 0736-800444

If you are outside Sweden please see:

Donate in Euro here