Refugee 4 Refugees

Refugee4Refugees is a non-governmental organization, with no political, religious, or ethnic affiliation that works at the front line of the humanitarian crisis in Greece.

Refugee4Refugees aims to promote a global aid ecosystem, where refugees and asylum seekers can feel empowered through active involvement in humanitarian and development interventions.

Every month hundreds of people attempt to cross from Turkey to Greece to escape violence and poverty. Refugee4Refugees helps those people as they make this perilous journey by offering humanitarian assistance and emergency support to those that arrive and to provide several activities in and outside the refugee camps and informal settlements.

Refugee4Refugees co-founder, Omar Alshakal was forced to flee his home in Syria because of the civil war and arrived at the island of Kalymnos, Greece, after swimming for 14 hours from the Turkish coast in 2014.

After receiving asylum in Germany, he decided to go back to Greece to help people who are currently living through similar experiences. After realizing that he was well positioned to help fellow refugees and asylum seekers, he decided to start the organization in 2017.

The projects you will be working on will vary, depending on which island you decide to volunteer in. Currently, volunteers work on the following projects:

  • “Free shopping experience” distribution shop: the distribution warehouse is set up like a “shop”, with hangers and shelves filled with clothes for refugees to come in and pick the clothes and hygiene items that they need. The volunteers help the families as “shopping assistants” by registering the “clients”, helping them choose the items and keeping the “shop” clean.
  • Warehouse sorting and storage: Volunteers organise all of the donated clothing and hygiene items on a daily basis at the storage warehouse ready to restock the ‘shop’.
  • Camp cleaning:due to the lack of appropriate and sufficient resources to tackle the vast volume of daily waste produced by the thousands of people living in the makeshift camps surrounding Moria and Vathi Camps, the tents are surrounded by mountains of garbage, especially plastic and organic waste. Volunteers clean the camps on a weekly basis in order to mitigate this problem.

Our volunteers are an essential part of our work. Without people like you coming to offer hands-on support our projects would simply not run. 

The situation in Lesvos and Samos is always changing, therefore we cannot guarantee which activities you will perform as a volunteer with R4R. We ask that you are flexible and open to last minute change, as is the nature of our work. Currently, our volunteers work 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday, with a shorter shift on either Saturday or Sunday.

Essentials that you need to know before applying:

  • Volunteers are required to cover their own expenses including travel, accommodation and food. Support is available for those able to stay long term. More information will be sent by email about accommodation options.  
  • Inductions are held on Mondays and Thursdays so we ask volunteers to arrive on a Sunday or Wednesday to be ready the next day. If for any reason this is not possible please contact our volunteer coordinator. Volunteers cannot attend any of our activities until they have undergone the full induction.
  • There is a minimum age requirement of 18 years old and no maximum age limit.
  • Be aware that the hours can be long and strenuous and the work can be emotionally demanding so we ask that you are physically able and mentally prepared. 
  • You must be willing to work long hours, sometimes for days in a row. You may be called upon to work these hours at short notice, so you must be flexible. The nature of both R4R and the refugee crisis as a whole dictates this, with emergency situations being a common occurrence.
  • We require every volunteer to commit to a minimum of 2 weeks and to sign a code of conduct.
  • Previous volunteering experience with refugees in Greece is an asset as well as knowledge of Greek, Arabic, Farsi, French, or Kurdish.
  • If you hold a driving license that allows you to drive in Greece and are comfortable driving a manual car and people carrier/van this is extremely useful.

Duration / Dates

Volunteers are welcome for two weeks or two months (or longer!), though often the longer you are here the more you will get out of the experience.

Costs / Pay

Volunteer accommodation is normally available, where a contribution of 10euros a night is requested for the first month of staying.

25euros a week is also asked for towards travel costs between projects and the housing

Contact / Enquiry

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