Don’t just think. Act!

Thinking about going to Chios volunteering for the Norwegian NGO “A Drop in the Ocean”? Stop thinking and start acting!

All the time I hear the phrase: “I have been thinking about volunteering for refugee work with Drop in Ocean on Chios (or one of the other places in Greece where we operate”. My answer is: “Stop thinking and start acting!”. Just thinking about it is not going to do any good for the refugees… Further, you are loosing the possibility of a most important experience that you will never forget or regret!

A refugee couple hoping for a better future
A refugee couple hoping for a better future

During my stay on Chios volunteering as the coordinator of the activities of the “Drops” on this Greek Island, I have never heard a single volunteer expressing that he or she regrets going to Chios. On the contrary, many keep coming back…

It is not uncommon that volunteers describe the stay on Chios as “a once-in a lifetime experience” or “a turning point”, and that the stay “changed them (in a positive way)” and “broadened their minds”.

So what do the volunteers do on Chios (as of late May 2016)…? After having breakfast, we go to the Souda Refugee Camp (in Chios Town). By the way, you will need a rental car (for your own or sharing with 1-2 fellow volunteers).

We start handing out breakfast to approximately 1000 people in the Souda camp at 8:30. The breakfast consists of bread (sandwich, croissant etc.) and a boiled egg or a fruit (orange, banana). We try to vary the breakfast a bit from day to day.

Drop in the Ocean volunteer is playing with children in the Dipithe Camp
Drop in the Ocean volunteer is playing with children in the Dipithe Camp

At 9:30 we start serving breakfast for approximately 500 people in the nearby Dipithe Refugee Camp. During and after the meal we socialise with the refugees and make note of any special needs (such as baby milk, diapers, hygienic products, strollers for babys, clothes, shoes etc.) and play with the children.

A young mother and her two daughters in the breakfast line in Souda camp
A young mother and her two daughters in the breakfast line in Souda camp

We buy the food for the breakfast at a baker’s in Karfas. Georgio brings all the food himself to the camps in his van. Georgio shows his support for the refugees (and our work) by giving Drop in the Ocean a large discount.

Serving breakfast in the two camps is the sole responsibility of the Drop in the Ocean volunteers. If we don’t show up with food each morning, most of these poor people will have nothing to eat for breakfast.

People's Street Kitchen in Chios Town preparing soup for the refugees
People’s Street Kitchen in Chios Town preparing soup for the refugees
Our warehouse (provided by Kostas) fully stocked, including 80 baby strollers
Our warehouse (provided by Kostas) fully stocked, including 80 baby strollers

After serving breakfast the Drop in the Ocean volunteers assist as needed at the two street/soup kitchens on Chios Island, People’s Kitchen and Basque’s Kitchen, in preparing and serving lunch and dinner in the Souda and Dipithe camps. We also spend time in our warehouse (kindly provided by Kostas), collecting various items for the refugees and keeping it tidy and fully stocked.

 

Volunteer on Chios

Welcome to my website !

My name is Janne Hegna. I am a Norwegian. I am married and we have 4 grown-up children. I hold a master degree in economics and management, and a bachelor in teaching.

I travelled to the Greek Isand of Chios in the beginning av January 2016 – and I have stayed here since – to volunteer helping refugees fleeing from war and violence.

From February to mid-October 2016 I worked as the Chios Field Coordinator for the Norwegian NGO “A Drop in the Ocean”.

I am still on Chios working as a volunteer, now focusing most on vulnerable refugees, especially children and mothers, cooperating with various national and international NGOs as well as the local authorities.

On this blog I will share my experience working for the refugee cause in cooperation with Greek and international NGO volunteers as well as the local authorities.

This is a sticky post informing about the blog. The newest post follows under. Please share a link to the blog or a post you like to others that may help by volunteering in Greece or donating money to Drop in the Ocean and other organisations  working for refugees.