“Having endlessly read stories about the crisis, I wanted to witness it with my own eyes and get a true understanding of what was going on. In January, with some time off work as a makeup artist in the film industry, I headed off to Lesvos in Greece. With no experience in volunteering, or even a deep political understanding of the situation, I was full of nerves. I worried that I didn’t really know what I was doing, that maybe I wouldn’t be able to handle it emotionally. I thought ‘What difference will I make?’ the whole time.
But I can honestly say that it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I now see the world completely differently. Yes, in some ways for the worse, but mostly absolutely for the better. The people that I have met on this journey, volunteers and refugees alike, have shown me how to truly love, how to share and how to give. The bravery, compassion and care I have witnessed will stay with me forever!
Last week a friend and I asked family, friends and neighbours if they had any clothes to donate, and we were overwhelmed with support! We filled up my little car and set off to the L’Auberge Warehouse in Calais. I took two and a half hours, door-to door – it really is right on our doorstep!
We spent the day helping at the warehouse, which provides the camps with thousand of nutritious meals a day, as well as clothes and hygiene items. The atmosphere is so welcoming and, whatever your skills, there will absolutely be a job for you; from food packing to sorting clothes to building, and they even cook you a tasty lunch as a thank you! The warehouse runs fully on donations and volunteer support, so if you can spare a day or two it is a great thing to do!
If heading to Calais isn’t an option there are so many other things you can do, from holding a fundraiser or donations collection, to sharing a post that moved you. We need to talk about the situation, we need to form educated opinions on it and we need to stick together.
So what I’m trying to say is…if you’ve felt moved and inspired by the posts that you’re reading about the refugee crisis, and thought ‘I wish I could help’, you can! With a little courage, support and time investment I did just that and I encourage you overcome your fears or worries because, I promise you, it’s the best thing ever!”
Thank you, Polly, for sharing your story with us! If you want to find out more about Polly and her experiences in Lesvos and Calais, you can find her on Instagram @pollymossmua.
To find out more ways that you can get involved, head to our website.
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