Thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq are enduring danger and desperation in their homelands, facing hunger and hostility in Turkey, and risking everything crossing the treacherous Aegean Sea. When they reach freedom on the storied Greek island of Lesbos, the gateway to Europe, Conscience International is there helping asylum seekers disembark on shore, handing them dry clothing and water and making sure they are safe in the transition camp managed by our staff.
Our relief team reports from Lesbos.
"Traveling down the beach road on Lesbos Island, Greece, we witnessed forty or fifty refugees in a rubber dingy designed for fifteen or twenty trying to make a safe landing to freedom. As they approached land, cheers from the boat could be heard a mile away, although what awaited had to be a mystery for them. As they waded toward shore, volunteers rushed into the water to help them onto the beach."
"Rehana wanted to know my motivation to come all the way from America to spend the night in a very cold winter in difficult conditions to help them. She had only known people who would do something in exchange for money."
"Talented volunteers arrive, creating activities for our guests: little ones with balloons and bubbles, older children playing soccer or chasing games. Sad faces turn into smiles. Sahid, aged 11, from Syria, draws a boy in the forest holding hands with an adult, both smiling. He writes between the characters, "I love you." I ask if that is his father. He looks up from the paper, smiles, and points at me. "It is you!"
"During the week we had an Afghan family pass through with a baby that was less than 48 hours old. He had been born in the forest in Turkey and they made the boat journey as soon as the mother was able to travel. Read more here.