A Humbling Note: Syrian Refugee Crisis
My dear friends have just gotten back from their summer holiday on a Greek island. They had booked to go to Lesbos (Lesvos) many months ago. The media has been overwhelmed with footage of migrants and refugees awaiting passage through places like Calais and Budapest, and of course, of the boats arriving on Greek islands, the first stop of a very long journey. I have to admit until I spoke to Naomi, I had no great understanding of the magnitude of the situation. My friends were going for sun, sea, and sand and what they came back with is a huge level of understanding, knowledge, and humility that they have shared with all of us. To put things into perspective, the UN says around 50 inflatable boats a day arrive on Lesbos alone and my friends saw this day and night. Greek locals would rush down to the boats to give water and supplies to families that had crossed miles and miles of land and sea. To quote Naomi: "seeing a mum and dad with a baby, a two year old and a three year old, and knowing that they've walked their toddlers from Syria through countless countries to arrive in Greece, only to have to now cross Europe to goodness knows where, kind of put things into perspective on our 'holiday'". These people left everything they have ever known, had, and loved, to escape. They have risked their lives and are traveling on foot for many miles because they believe that this life is safer than the home they have left behind.
The locals are doing an incredible job in helping where possible but supplies are much needed, "a restaurant owner in the town has set up her own makeshift camp, staffed by volunteers, and reliant on donations". Naomi and Tom ended up leaving the majority of their clothes on the island, and are sending care packages from home.
Every little helps. If you want to contribute to Lesbos specifically, please send: medicine, diapers, clothes, food, money, etc. to:
Hellenic Postal Office of Mythymna,
c/o The Captain's Table 81108
Molyvos, Lesvos, Greece
4.1 million Syrians are registered as refugees with the UN and more than half of Syria's entire population have fled their homes either to be uprooted somewhere else within the country or are facing an unknown future abroad. These are just a few facts taken from the CNN page linked below, please read, it is incredibly informative.
And please check out the official Facebook page and the New York Times video for more specific info on Lesbos. The struggles will break your heart.
As I sit writing this in a London Starbucks, my mundane upsets and problems are completely put into perspective. How lucky am I to have been born in a country where I am safe, safe to live freely and able to travel as I please? Many of these people have most likely never left Syria, at the very least we can spread kindness and try to lessen their fear of an unknown world and an unsure future.