Why they are our hero of July
Goodwill Caravan is non-profit Humanitarian Charity that covers refugee protection projects including shelter, food, legal, medical and educational support in the UK and Greece. They focus particularly on refugee families, orphans, detained and unaccompanied children who are at the highest risk of organ trade, trafficking and kidnappings. Their work has helped thousands of refugees make the journey to a better life.
Network for Migration Matters has been impressed by Goodwill Caravan’s continual work protecting refugees, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the number of charities helping refugees has decreased as a result of the risks caused by the virus. However, Goodwill Caravan continues to send their people to camps despite these risks. They have also done their best to adapt to the obstacles caused by COVID-19. For example, their bus service, which takes refugees to the centre of Athens so that they can attend their important appointments with the Greek government and lawyers, has had to take safety measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. One such measure has been limiting the number of people in a bus at any one time with spaces between each passenger. The disadvantage of this has been that Goodwill Caravan has not been able to transport as many people as they have done in the past. However, they continue to operate as frequent a bus service as possible
On 15th July 2020, the charity opened a building in Athens which was generously donated to them. They are using this building as a hub for refugee support, such as legal and asylum support, educational classes, including English, IT and Greek, vocational classes, Greece integration classes and employment preparation support. Therefore, the services that the charity are providing will equip migrants with the skills to help them build a more stable life for themselves and their family.
In addition to this, they are inviting other organisations to come and use the building to offer a comprehensive and well-rounded support process for refugees. Speaking to Network for Migration Matters, Goodwill Caravan told us “we believe [by] working together, we will accomplish more”. This collaborative attitude caught our attention. At Network for Migration Matters, we believe that we can learn and achieve more when a wide range of groups share their experiences and resources. In the same vain, Goodwill Caravan recognises that refugee interests are better served when as many stakeholders work together as possible.
The new building will have spaces for employees and volunteers of the organisations to share their experiences and provide support for one another. Given the fact that people providing refugee support are exposed to the traumatic stories of migrants and the poor camp conditions, providing a support network composed of individuals who are working in this difficult area will be hugely beneficial. Certainly, such solidarity will help mitigate the vicarious trauma that fieldworkers often experience.
Network for Migration Matters would like to take the opportunity to thank Goodwill Caravan for their incredible work.
If you would like to find out more about Goodwill Caravan, including how to get involved, please visit their website: https://www.goodwillcaravan.com/