Editor’s Note: Here’s the Aug. 2 installment from my friend Marcy Franck, who is on the island of Chios, Greece, volunteering to help Syrian refugees. You can read her first three posts here and here, plus here on Planet Waves. Any donations made here go directly to aid. — Amanda P.
By Marcy Franck
One of the most vulnerable populations in this whole crisis is unaccompanied minors. They are exactly what they sound like — children traveling alone. There are several on Chios, all between the ages of 11 – 17.
Eleven. I can’t even.
Everywhere there are unaccompanied minors there are also people waiting to prey on them. Traffickers who will lure them into sexual slavery or — and I wish this were a big old “false” on snopes — taken for their organs.
On Chios they are looked after by a special group who keeps them safe. They coordinate with other groups on the island who can also provide activities and services for them. Last week, for example, they went on a field trip to a museum, then out to lunch.
This week, my dear donors, you funded a field trip for haircuts and lunch at a restaurant, as well as the transportation to each location. Chios Eastern Shore Response Team — CESRT organized the event, which took place at their fantastic warehouse. Toula, their tireless organizer, provided ice cream while they were waiting for their turn in the chair.
It was fantastic to meet them — everyone shook my hand and smiled, and were pleased to get back to looking cool after a few weeks too many without a haircut.
It’s probably obvious but I’ll say it anyway–being able to go out and around town, and eat “normal” food in a restaurant, as well as taking care of a basic need like a haircut can help boost their spirits in an otherwise very difficult situation.
You may have noticed that I don’t post photos of faces. Everyone here values their privacy. They are here for a reason, and there’s no need to make them easier to find. Unaccompanied minors, especially, need to stay protected. This will hopefully explain the little hearts blocking out their faces.
I’m still collecting donations! To learn more about my volunteer trip to help refugees in Greece, and how you can help too, click here.
Read all of Marcy’s Facebook posts here to learn more about her work with Syrian refugees, and the work of others.