“I joined a Churches Together in Britain and Ireland delegation of women church leaders to Greece where we went and visited refugee camps – both one on the islands and tried to visit one on the mainland – and visited various projects that are working with refugees in Athens and in Thessaloniki.”
“We met a lot of people, met some amazing projects and we were bowled over by the immense generosity of the Greek people to respond to this issue.”
She spent time with a Salvation Army project in Athens that provides food, clothes and practical help to refugee families. She told listeners about meeting a young couple at that project. The lady was very heavily pregnant and her baby was due any day. She and her husband had fled Syria on foot, got on a boat from Turkey and consequently had nothing when they arrived in Greece. Sarah was able to pull together a hospital pack for the woman from supplies in the Salvation Army stockroom.
From what we see on the TV in the UK, how different is it on the ground in Greece?
“It’s so much bigger. The thing which really bowled me over is just the size and the scale of the problem. I think what we get to see is only the absolute tip of the iceberg. I’m aware that what I saw [on the ground in Greece] was only a slightly bigger tip of the iceberg … The thing I hadn’t realised from the television is how much the people of Greece are doing. People are travelling from all over Europe to go and help and it was amazing to see.”
Has the trip changed your thoughts in any way?
“I think I’m aware of how much we all have a responsibility to try and help and do what we can and to realise that it isn’t Greece’s problem or Italy’s problem. The whole of humanity in Europe and across the world is responsible to try and find a way that these people can go back to their homes. Because that’s what they really want. All of them said we really want to go home. We want the war to end and to be able to go back to Aleppo or Homs or wherever.”