Isobel Owen (Anglican Alliance for Development Relief and Advocacy) and Sarah Moore (United Reformed Church and CTBI trustee) reflected on their time spent in Athens on day four of the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland visit to refugee camps and organisations working with refugees in Greece.
“The Salvation Army have a big project in central Athens where they’re working to provide food and all sorts of other items – clothes and nappies and toiletries – to refugees who have arrived in the city and many of whom are living out in the refugee camps just outside the city. This is a really good programme supporting them with the things they need for their lives.”
The CTBI group worked with the Salvation Army team, preparing clothes and handing over supplies to refugees. Sarah noted that “it’s very unusual to see a refugee who are over forty”.
“Today I was particularly moved to meet a young pregnant woman who had fled Syria, who was about to give birth to a baby, and had nothing. Whereas we’d be used to mothers packing a hospital bag – we had to, out of the stuff that was available in the basement of the Salvation Army project, put together a hospital bag for this young woman of the things we thought she might need.”
Isobel described the Salvation Army as having “real vision” in their work in Athens, looking to the long term, providing language lessons and fight against trafficking.
Sarah concluded their chat:
“It was amazing to hear some of the Salvation Army’s hopes and strategies to move forward and to continue to support both refugees who are coming to Athens but also local Greek people who are also struggling too with the economic crisis and other issues.
“It was amazing to see the work that one small Christian community of twenty people are able to do and support.”
Photos: Esme Allen