Positive Responses To The Refugee Crisis

By Harri • December 16, 2016

After months of staring in disbelief at the news about the refugee crisis last year, a few friends and I decided to use our interests and skills to take action. We organised a sponsored relay cycle from London to Athens to raise money for a refugee community centre in Athens. It went really well, we had 43 cyclists participate and we managed to fundraise £48,000, which is enough to pay for the rent and electricity for the centre for an entire year. This Spring, we're planning on doing it all again, with the aim to raise the same amount, to continue to provide them with their rent money, to keep such an amazing project secure.

Every part of this project, the cycle and charity, is a positive response to the refugee crisis. The cycle is an amazing and challenging experience to be a part of, and makes fundraising a positive, energetic activity rather than a guilt trip. And over in Greece, the co-operative, Khora, who are running the community centre, provide not only basic needs such as free nutritious food, warm clothing and dental care, but also social needs such as education, child care, access to information and a safe space to build relationships and relax, creating perhaps the first enjoyable and happy space refugees have been provided with, and been able to co-create, on their journey.

Yes, the situation is still depressing and it is still mostly unsolved, but that's not where we should leave things. In a world of heart-wrenchingly sad media, I feel it is really important to remind ourselves that there are positive responses we can take, and that the skills we use to respond can be varied and creative- I wouldn't have paired cycling and the refugee crisis together before having had this idea! Whatever your interests and skills are, put them to use, make them work for this crisis, and create positive change!

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