Do you help or work with refugees? Share your volunteering stories

To celebrate the winners of the Nansen refugee award, we’d like to hear your experiences of helping in the refugee crisis

A 2,000 strong volunteer sea rescue team, credited with saving thousands of lives during the 2015 refugee crisis, and a passionate human rights activist who provided a safe haven for thousands of the most vulnerable refugees arriving on Greek shores, are the joint 2016 winners of the UNHCR’s Nansen refugee award. To celebrate their work we’d like to hear your stories.

Konstantinos Mitragas on behalf of the Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) and Efi Latsoudi from PIKPA village on the Greek island of Lesvos were both chosen for their tireless volunteer work during the 2015 refugee crisis on Greece’s shores: the HRT for their round-the-clock efforts to save refugees and migrants in distress from the sea, and Efi Latsoudi for her compassion and care for the most vulnerable refugees and migrants arriving on the island of Lesvos.

Mitragas, a sea captain and The Hellenic Rescue Team’s (HRT) secretary-general, is a Thessaloniki businessman by trade, he said, “I believe it’s something in your heart that moves you and makes you volunteer and I can say our volunteers are heroes. No matter where someone comes from, or their religion, as a rescue organization we have to be there. We have to be united in periods of crisis.”

Latsoudi, a trained psychologist and human rights activist, is the driving force behind PIKPA village, she said, “For me supporting refugees is not something exceptional, it’s something that we have to do. There is a face of Europe that is very human and it’s amazing. It can do miracles and this is a miracle.”

The Nansen award recognizes the work of volunteers and the support and assistance provided by people in Europe and around the world last year, and who continue to welcome refugees in their communities and assist with their integration. Former laureates include Eleanor Roosevelt, Graça Machel and Luciano Pavarotti.

Whether you are a volunteer or work for an NGO we’d like to hear your stories of helping in the refugee crisis. We’d also like to hear from refugees on their experiences, or from friends and families of those who have done heroic things towards the refugee cause.

Source: The Guardian