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Greece: Helping Refugees Cross the Border

 

An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, many of these pass through Greece on the way to Northern Europe. An average of about 2000 refugees per day arrive at the northern border with Macedonia often resting in makeshift camps in the countryside or near a border crossing.

These men, women, elderly people, children and even infants are exposed to various forms of danger and violence and completely unprotected from the weather. They are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted having been underway for weeks; they typically have little or no remaining financial resources.

The headquarters of Agape Greece is located about one hour from the Macedonian border in Thessaloniki, and teams of staff and volunteers make multiple trips per week to distribute humanitarian aid materials and give support, show compassion and share the message of Christ in word and deed to the fleeing masses.

Currently, their activities include  meeting regularly with local authorities and other support organisations to coordinate humanitarian aid work. Agape Greece has been given official partner status by the local government meaning that they can receive and distribute donated materials and funds. This ongoing assessment and close communcation among refugee aid groups is essential as the situation changes daily and the response must be adapted to meet current needs.

In cooperation with local Christians (churches, organizations, individuals), they have already been able to set up a converted container as a washhouse, a mobile electrical charging container with wi-fi service, and are coordinating the collection, storage and transport of donated materials for distribution.

All work is done by teams of staff and volunteers who do humanitarian outreach in the border region multiple times per week. An important aspect of their trips to the refugee areas are the opportunities to engage with individual people to offer comfort, answer questions or just connect from heart to heart. 

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