It has been a while since we updated you with news about us and our work. We’ve had a number of new staffing updates, news about what’s been happening with our relief work in Greece, new opportunity to give aid to refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a new start to being involved in a development project called Water for Life.
Anais is a Disaster and Emergency Response Team (DART) member and after being in lockdown in London for a while, she began to rethink how she could be spending her time during a global pandemic. In this post, Anais answers some interview questions about how she became a DART member and what’s motivated her to join GAiN’s response to the Corona Virus in Camp Moria.
This year GAiN UK is turning 5 and in celebration of this milestone, we have held an Online Network Gathering and Celebration Event! Thank you to everyone who attended these events. In this post Sarah Patel has summarised some of what GAiN UK has achieved over the past 5 years. This page will give you the opportunity to respond to our Celebration Event and hear a little about what the next fears year have in store.
As we prepared ourselves for what the press is calling “the hell of Moria”, we became more fearful as we read articles, books, saw photos and watched footage of the camp. We prayed for courage, for protection, for provision, for wisdom, for compassion….
We arrived in Lesbos to meet our team and get some informative, relevant and insightful training: a great start to meet such special, dedicated, wise people and feel safe together.
Back in October, a joint GAiN team from the UK and Netherlands went to volunteer at Moria, the new arrivals refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece. What followed was a series of events that were neither planned nor expected, but resulted in another team returning in February to assemble large tents donated from the Mission Impossible set!
I’ll admit it. I’m one of the millions who binge-watched the new Marie Kondo Netflix series ‘Tidying Up’ over the holidays. It hit me at just the right time. My house was filled with clutter, disused baby toys, bills from 2009 and clothes that no longer fit. I’d been itching to start 2019 with a fresh mind and a clean house, and Marie Kondo and her patented joy-sparking and folding methods were just the push I needed to get started.
Danielle shares about how the mission to send desperately needed supplies to refugees in Lesbos began with a little help from Tom Cruise! Whilst out in Greece with a GAiN volunteer team one of Danielle’s friends got in touch to say that he had an idea for how we might be able to get some bigger, better tents to the people who are facing winter with inadequate shelter.
This project started when Lizelle Pieterse (with GAiN South Africa) had a heart to mobilise people within South Africa to respond to the pockets of poverty on their door step. This desire has now grown into a vision to give children who are living on the margins and would otherwise have been forgotten, a fighting chance at life.
It was a lot to take in at once and as we got to know people it changed so many things about how I saw the Refugee Crisis. Going in I had a “Headline View” of the Refugee Crisis, when I came back I had gained the “Human View.” I realized that the Refugee label had kept me from seeing those seeking refuge as people. I recognized that a Refugee is not a kind of nationality or citizenship, but a season of life and a journey.
For three years, 1,500 displaced people, primarily from Mosul, called a half-finished building in Erbil, which became a refugee camp, home. This Christmas, the tall skeleton of the building was empty: after Mosul and its surrounding area was liberated, most of the families returned to their hometowns and villages, and have started the long process of rebuilding.
These are the words used to describe the temporary living quarters for thousands of refugees who have fled their homes and find themselves on the island of Lesvos, Greece. The summer surge of new arrivals means the camps there are accommodating well over their capacity. Life looks increasingly bleak as tempers fray in crowded quarters, and temperatures overnight drop to near zero in tents which are already struggling with the wind and rain.
When I learnt about the horrible situations faced by Iraqi and Syrian children in refugee camps, with no access to education and at risk of exploitation, I knew I needed to get my community, my university, involved. At GAiN we partner with local communities in this country, to make sure that people living in these camps can have hope for their future by meeting their needs today.
Early in July our project team once again went to Cluj-Napoca for the third year running. A team of 12, made up of students and recent graduates, spent 10 days working alongside the local project staff who are focused on changing the future prospects for the next generation of Roma gypsy children living next to the city rubbish dump. Emanuel who was returning with the team for the second time shares his impressions of the project.
On 7th April, our group of nine volunteers with Agapé Student Life came from across the UK to Thessaloniki, to join the GAiN project not knowing fully what to expect. We arrived to a former army airfield, and the first thing we saw was a children’s playpark, something that none of us expected. As we began a quick tour, it was clear that the children were the life and soul of the camp – and often a source of much entertainment.