Category: Refugee services

Letters from a crisis: ‘how can this be happening in the EU?’


grandmother and child
Ever wondered what it’s really like to work in an emergency?

Gwen Wilson has seen it all. After retiring as a nurse, she worked in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. Now Gwen has swapped her life in Sheffield for a refugee camp in northern Greece.

Writing to you from Thessalonica, Gwen gives her reflections on supporting refugees in Greece.


Letters from a crisis: wind, rain and wheelie bin rides


Have you ever ridden a wheelie-bin in a roaring gale?

Gwen Wilson has seen it all. After retiring as a nurse, she worked in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis. Now Gwen has swapped her life in Sheffield for a refugee camp in northern Greece.

Writing to you from Thessalonica, Gwen gives her reflections on supporting refugees in Greece.


Radio Lesvos: the show helping refugees in Greece


Elderly man is helped to disembark a dinghy. The Greek island of Lesbos is one of the main entering point to Europe for refugees. Larger vessels, rubber boats and dinghys from Turkey cross around 5 miles of Mediterranian Sea to arrive in Lesbos.

Most of us are familiar with the disorientation you feel arriving in a foreign country. Maybe it’s the language, or that blast of heat (or cold) as you get off the plane. But it can take a little while to find your feet on foreign soil.

Those refugees arriving in dinghies on the Greek island of Lesvos are no different. Many speak no Greek, and have only what possessions they can carry.

They may have been separated or even lost loved ones on their journey. Many have fled violence and conflict.

But a Red Cross radio show is helping many refugees when they arrive in Greece.


Meet the children of Idomeni



We all remember the thrill of jumping into a good puddle. Yet for the children living in Idomeni camp, a week of heavy rain means puddles have long ceased to hold much wonder.

Despite their sodden blankets and shoes, the children remain filled with hope of a better life. They hope that the border will open soon so they can continue northward to be reunited with their loved ones.


Helping refugees on the streets of Athens


athens street walk1

Border closures have left thousands of refugees stranded in Greece. In freezing conditions, many are waiting for news on the streets of Athens. Nigel Ede, a British Red Cross aid worker, joined a team of volunteers to see how they are helping.

I arrive at the family shelter run by the Hellenic Red Cross around 7pm after work. It’s a cold night and I am well wrapped. Aggelos and Alexandra who help manage the family shelter have spent much of the afternoon preparing bags with a blanket, dry food, toiletries and bottled water. Down a narrow stair case in the basement, two large cauldrons of water come to the boil to fill large thermoses lined up on the counter.


Greece: Europe’s road to nowhere



As talks to stop the flow of migrants into Greece continue, more than 1,300 vulnerable people continue to arrive on Greek islands every day. Tens of thousands have been stranded across Greece for the past weeks.

Many of them have made their way north to the border town of Idomeni. They sleep in tents pitched on train tracks in cold winter winds. Queuing, often for hours to get food or use the toilet, some have waited here for weeks in the hope of crossing into Macedonia.


Crisps, buses and Irish stew: what you need to know to live in the UK


Artwork by schoolchildren welcoming Syrian refugees to BelfastYou’ve survived bombs, disease and death threats. So starting a new life in the UK should be easy, right? But where do you start if you don’t speak fluent English, you’ve never been on a bus and you don’t know what a £5 note is?

British Red Cross volunteer Jessica takes you behind-the-scenes to see how Syrian refugee families are introduced to their new lives when they first step off the plane.

The government has pledged to give 20,000 Syrian refugees a safe home in the UK over the next five years. The first families have already arrived. More