“We came as refugees and you helped us. Now it is our turn to do the same as much as we can”

Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

“We came as refugees and you helped us.

Now it is our turn to do the same as much as we can”, Ossama from Syria

The SolidarityNow teams and refugees-beneficiaries offer their support to the fire victims. Together.

We cherish life together“, Sadam was saying in Greek, while arranging biscuits, wipes, emptying boxes, carrying food.

Along with him were Ali, Jasem and Ossama.

These four people went to Kineta so as to offer their volunteer work and thus support the victims of the fires that hit Attica on July 23rd. “We want to help the fire victims and whatever they need, we are ready to offer it“, Ali said. Jasem also underlined his promptitude: Ready to help every day, whenever they want, I’m ready“!

And according to Ossama this help is a way for them to express their gratitude: “We have come as refugees and you helped us; now, we want to support you as much as we can. We are human beings – we must help”.

For the four refugees from Syria, Iraq and Kuwait, who discussed with the head of the SolidarityNow team that is in the first place in the affected areas, Kineta and Mati, showing solidarity is not obligatory. On the contrary, they believe it is self-evident to help those who are in need. Somewhere in the room, we listen to Sadam keep saying: “We cherish life together”.

The head of the SolidarityNow team in Kineta, Danae Capralos, describes how it becomes apparent that there are no barriers among people, no restraints to express solidarity: “After these two past weeks of shock, anger and sadness due to the deadly fires and having spent most of those past days assisting the teams of volunteers both in Kineta and Mati, having Sadam, Ossama, Ali and Jasem being part of our volunteering team was a breath of fresh air giving way to the feelings of hope, solidarity and humanity. Sadam was our connecting link, as the only one who spoke Greek, but that did not matter once we arrived on site. Their willingness to help surpassed the language barrier and within the first few minutes an effective chain and team was set up reminding us that we are all the same at a time of need, and that it could happen to any of us. After the end of the hard work, the local team would not have us leave without having lunch all together as a team; a good feeling that was felt by all on the drive back. When we left, our four refugees, friends, fellow human beings were satisfied having offered their support to Greek people – “who have welcomed us with warmth”.

These four people are refugees; they have come to Greece to be protected either by the war or by the persecutions they had suffered in their countries because of their religious and political beliefs. The trip to Greece, and therefore to Europe, demanded hard effort and caused pain – but they made it. And today they are in Athens, being hosted by SolidarityNow as beneficiaries of the organization’s accommodation program.

*Sadam, Ali, Jasem and Ossam live along with their families in one of the SolidarityNow accommodation structures in Athens, in the framework of ESTIA-the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation program, supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and funded by European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).