Goodwill Caravan: A grassroot perspective on the refugee crisis
Time & Location
About the Event
“Many people will tell me “what’s the point of helping one person... the problem is so big”, and I would tell them “these are people they are not numbers or stats”.
Hanan Ashegh, founder of Goodwill Caravan, a non-profit humanitarian charity covering refugee protection projects, provides insight into the refugee crisis in Greece in NMM’s very first webinar.
The journey of a refugee starts well before arriving to European territory, but it doesn’t end there. Once a person seeking asylum arrives on the Greek shores, the real and long legal struggle to be granted refugee status commences, a process where asylum seekers are too-often misinformed. This is, precisely, where Goodwill Caravan’s work comes into play; a work which ranges from emergency distributions all the way through legal and job security, mainly directed towards refugee families, orphans, detainees, and unaccompanied children, and which focuses on long-term rehabilitation and re-settling of refugees.
With over 100,000 people in its refugee camps (though the actual numbers are estimated to double or triple that figure), the Greek asylum system is overwhelmed and collapsing. Refugees must live in ‘truly squalid conditions’ throughout the lengthy legal process of seeking asylum. The process goes well beyond two years, and often ends with the deportation of entire families. Goodwill Caravan aims to provide legal support in this process to those most vulnerable by helping refugees with their asylum claims, their access to the labour market and their integration in Greece.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the refugee crisis and on Goodwill Caravan
As with any other public service, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a huge delay in the processing of all asylum claims and put a huge strain on the work of all non-profit organizations working with refugees. While Goodwill Caravan’s emergency services have not been shut down at any point of the pandemic, their resources and, thus, services, have unfortunately plummeted.
Future plans for Goodwill Caravan
Goodwill Caravan’s work is expanding and their members already have some new and exciting projects in mind. Among them we can find the launch of a job centre in Athens to help refugees access the Greek job market; the building of a “safe building” for refugees around Istanbul; and the opening of a branch in Kaisari, a town closer to the refugee trail and to their countries of origin where they fled from war and prosecution in search of a better future.
We are very grateful to Goodwill Caravan for having taken the time to join us for our first webinar. If you are interested in Goodwill Cravan’s work, visit their website (https://www.goodwillcaravan.com/), get in touch over email (email@example.com), and donate through the following link: https://www.goodwillcaravan.com/donate/ .
If you missed it you can watch the webinar on YouTube!