Giving Compass’ Take:
• News Deeply discusses the gaps in aid response during an influx of refugee arrivals to Europe, and how the volunteerism of migrants themselves have helped fill the gap.
• Are international refugee aid organizations doing enough to support such grassroots efforts? And what can policymakers do to reduce the burden on these vulnerable populations?
“I need someone who speaks Farsi.” Early one day at the Humans4Humanity community center on Lesbos, the voice of the center’s Syrian cofounder Rafat echoed through the main lobby.
I poked my head out from the grocery store. “Ali can do it,” I said.
My volunteer job put me behind the counter in the store at H4H, as people call it. Our “customers,” displaced people living in the squalid Moria Camp, visited the center to stock up on free supplies. The “staff” included around seven international volunteers, but the bulk of the operation was run by a team of between 30 and 40 long-term workers, also volunteers, all of whom were themselves displaced.
Ali, an Afghan colleague in the grocery, is a gentle plumber from a town near Ghazni. People in his region speak Dari, and Dari speakers can get by in Farsi, too.
I first joined the relief movement in Greece in 2016 and I watched as refugees came to play a central role in it. Their involvement bodes well for the long-term sustainability of the grassroots effort. At the same time, it illustrates the continuing challenges that people face in achieving their dreams of resettlement in Europe.
Read the full article about the volunteers within refugee communities by Dana Sachs at NewsDeeply.
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