Call to Duty
At 4.00am on Monday 26 December 2016 fifteen muslim volunteers from Youth Action/ Call to Duty assembled at Manchester airport for a five day mission to Greece to distribute aid to some of the refugee camps. Accompanied by OneDayPhotography to document their work for a book, this is the story of their mission and their commitment to deliver and distribute relief to the thousands of refugees held within camps in Athens and Thessaloniki.
Each and every refugee, as well as all the volunteers, have a story to tell and to retell that story here is impossible. What I am presenting here is far from comprehensive but gives you an idea of the hardships that this unfortunate section of humanity is having to face, and how Youth Action/Call to Duty is doing its very best to bring comfort and relief in these very troubled times.
During the five days of the mission I took almost 4,000 photographs, this was less than I had anticipated taking but circumstances at some locations meant photography was not allowed so I put the camera down and picked up some of the bags which the group were
I did however gain a great little assistant!
A small note stuck to a wall gives a small insight into the philosophy and work that is being carried out across Greece.
School 2 is one of 6 schools that are being used to shelter refugees within Athens. The smiling faces you see here are just a few of those living here, almost all of them are Syrian refugees many of whom could tell of stories that I can't recount simply because these are not people looking for sympathy, they do not seek something for nothing, they are simply surviving in a world that seems to want to turn it's back on them and yet there is joy and laughter, not bitterness and tears wherever I looked.
Based within the area of an army base this camp is much more open to the trials of the weather, especially as winter sets in.
The refugees here are all Afghan and once again it is the smiling faces that struck me more than anything else. The volunteers
distributed food, clothing and "Sunnah" packs containing the holy Qu’ran - never have I seen such joy from recipients.
saw the team head back towards Thessaloniki and also the weather take a severe turn for the worse. These were not the sort of conditions that anyone would want to see people walking around in open-toed shoes and all the teams thoughts turned towards the children we had been spending time with for the last couple of days.