“This is not a durable solution, Europe.”

“This is what I do every day- try my best to address, in small and always insufficient ways, the massive gaps which remain in basic services and supports for refugees here in Greece.” Phoebe Ramsay is the Field Coordinator for our partners InterVolve in Greece.

The gaps in access to basic human rights. There are 600 humans from 22 different nationalities who live in the camp in which I have been volunteering for the past 6 months, and the population is expanding rapidly. Many of those who live here, along a highway in the grey basin of an old quarry 20 km from the nearest town, have already received asylum in Greece. This is meant to be their durable solution.

The nearest supermarket costs a €4.40 round trip on the bus. There is no comprehensive integration plan. There are no meaningful supports or programs to access the labour market or further education. In fact, at present, there are not even any mattresses provided to the new arrivals transferred to the camp. And for the hundreds of children who live here, there is still no access to formal education. Every week for the past month, a particularly bright and enthusiastic 12 year old girl has told us with excitement that she would be finally starting school on Monday. Every week, she is disappointed. So we, a small and grassroots volunteer group, continue to try to manage with our painting and colouring and ABCs and smiling and singing and trying to pretend that the future for these children with their scars and nightmares will be ok.
This is not a durable solution, Europe.”

Phoebe has been volunteering in Greece for nearly 2 years, working initially in the informal Idomeni camp and now with the residents inside Koutsochero. We want to thank Phoebe and the whole Intervolve team for their dedication and hard work in incredibly difficult circumstances.

Please help us support their work, and the work of volunteer groups across Greece stepping up to support those left behind by governments and larger NGOs, by donating here today.