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If shoes could talk

Logo http://rebekkaplies.pageflow.io/if-shoes-could-talk

Volunteering

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UNHCR:

Already more then 150.000 people arrived on Greek territory by sea in 2016

In 2015 more then 856.000 refugees arrived on the shores of Greece by boat.

Hundreds of volunteers from all around the world try to help those in need every day.

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Many refugees arrive on Lesbos in small rubber dinghies made for 15-20 people.

But the human traffickers put 50 and more people in it which makes the crossing even more dangerous.
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- 50 Syrian Pounds
- badge from a rubber dinghy
- whistle from a life vest
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In the chaos of the arrival, many things were left behind on the beaches like shoes, socks, medicine and even passports like these from Iran.
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Every day boats keep arriving  - sometimes even big wooden ships like this with several hundred people jammed together on the top and the lower deck.
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long-term volunteer with Northern Lights Aid

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long-term volunteer and coordinator at The Hope Center

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The wind blows relentlessly over the thousands and thousands of abandoned lifejacktes  - it's a very haunting place.

This gigantic pile is only a small part of the whole picture, because this "lifejacket graveyard" is only one of several on Lesbos.
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Moria

The offical EU-Registration-Camp on Lesbos.

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In order to be able to distribute things like sleeping bags, backpacks or headlights to the people, we daily filled up the shelves and unpacked hundreds of paper boxes. 

Sometimes even with the help of young refugees that later had to queue for the stuff they helped us unload from the van.
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Make them smile:
 
There are bad moments while volunteering, like when you see parents that are so exhausted that they fall asleep over their crying children. BUT there are so many really good moments as well, when you can make those children smile even with some soap bubbles.
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Hope Centre

It’s an old hotel that was closed 7 years ago. Therefor a lot of renovation, reconstruction, repairing and sorting has to be done to the building, the garden and the beach.

When everything is settled it’s supposed to become a shelter for refugees when they arrive on the beach - a place, where they can change, get dry clothes, have some rest and privacy in the rooms, before they have to move on to the registration.
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There is so much positive energy and laughter all around the place and you can see the great progress on the building in just a little amount of time.
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It's all about people helping people. These people that arrive in the hope of finding refuge are not numbers on a paper, they are humans with a face and with eyes that often withhold the most terrifying experiences you could possibly imagine. And our job is to give them shelter and to make them not only feeling like a number in this massive bureaucratic system.

Mission humanity and the will to make a difference won’t stop at the borders. As the world gets more and more unwelcoming with closing borders around Europe - the many volunteers from all over the world restored my faith in humanity and I’m truly thankful for everything we experienced together.
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Erik, Tracy, Alice, Niels, Peter, Mihajlo, Ali, Kim, Philippa, Eric, Cookie, Sam, Oscar and all you other wonderful people I was lucky enough to meet!
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