Refugees welcome – by my friend and humanitarian hero Rando Wagner


From my friend Rando Wagner, whose magnificent humanitarian work you can support here

Many of us have lived, laughed and cried with our Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi friends, we have seen them arrive in Europe and tried to help them as best we could during the past year, we all shared the same frustrations and disbelief at how our governments first closed the border and then started to put the refugees through a bureaucratic ‘mind-f…’ , which had no fixed rules and even the most informed of us didn’t fully understand until many months into the process.
But however many experiences we share and time we spend together, none of us can ever imagine what fleeing your home feels like :

‘On this day, one year ago, I left my country, my house, my family. With much laughter and many tears, I left my home with a broken heart. I left to go towards an unknown future not knowing if I will make a good life or if I’ll be able to continue my life without them. As each day passes, I miss the smell of my mother’s food, I miss hearing my Dad’s voice, I miss playing with my sister. I don’t know when I’ll ever see my family again, the ones who gave me life, but not a day goes by that my heart does not find them. I know I didn’t make anything of myself this year, BUT Inshallah I will do something better in the new year and I will make them proud.’15541352_1046270668834062_1751090063956131957_n.jpg

‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN GREECE EXACTLY?’ And I struggle to answer, here is a rough account of a typical day in Athens

10am – Give €250 to a refugee family on
behalf of a volunteer who rents a flat for them
11am – give shoes to 3 youngSyrian brothers
11.30am – fruit market to purchase 120kg of bananas&60kg of tomatoes for jasmin school and single men’s squat
12.30 – meet recently arrived volunteer to athens and take him with me for Afternoon
2.00- take two families to see a volunteer paid flat that has just become available
3.00 – meet Syrian lady and her two teenage kids to give them €50 to help with food and a winter jacket for the son ( who didn’t have one at all and it’s close to freezing in Athens today
5.00 – meet 15 year old minor alone in Athens to buy treatment for chicken pox
6.00 -purchase 600 eggs, 3kg of honey and 10 kg of yoghurt for single men’s squat and deliver them
9.00- Desperately trying to find a psychiatrist who will help stop the deportation of a 18 year old Pakistani kid
11.00 – pick up two Volunteers and distribute bananas, croissant and sleeping bags to homeless people
01.00- deliver the remaining sleeping bags to the single men’s squat which has no heating and temperature is hovering around freezing
02.00- drop off bananas and hygiene packs at homeless shelter by Larissa station
03.00- try to catch up with online admin


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