Nestled among olive trees and factories, twenty minutes away from the beautiful city of Chalkida in Greece was Ritsona Refugee Camp. Formerly an air force base, Ritsona was funded by the UAE and Red Cross to address the needs of the influx of migrants that entered Greece in 2015. Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) manages a distribution center at this camp, where residents are provided with clean water, clothing, tea, and milk. I spent three months in Greece with CCS to help meet the needs of the camp. I was able to learn in-depth about the refugee crisis and see it through my own eyes.
Constantina Strikou, Program Officer for CCS Greece has been dedicated to addressing the needs of refugee communities since 2015. Starting on the coasts of Lesvos where refugees first enter Greece, Constantina now works at a camp on the mainland, Ritsona Refugee Camp. She is inspired by the resiliency of this population and has had the opportunity to analyze and understand the needs of this community through her work. We had the opportunity to sit with her and discuss the breadth of this crisis and how others can help make an impact.
Celeste Torrens , 77 and Nathalie Weeks, 73 are two sisters that showed the world that you can make an impact at any age through Cross-Cultural Solutions. Both sisters were Peace Corps volunteers who shared a love for assisting communities throughout the world, and learning about humanitarian issues. As the refugee crisis was continuously brought to their attention, they both knew they needed to do something, and decided to make their difference together.
Denise Riebman decided to ring in the new year the right way--dedicated to the service of others. Denise is a career development specialist that decided to embark on her first CCS adventure to provide resources to refugees at the Ritsona Refugee Camp. Before her trip to Greece, she reached out to her friends and family to collect vital item donations for the distribution center at Ritsona. Unique to the Greece Refugee Program, CCS provides volunteers with a list of appropriate and useful donations that will make a positive impact on the residents of the camp.
Authored by: Megan Heise
Since launching our Refugee Program in Greece in June of this year, we’ve witnessed the incredible impact of over 100 dedicated CCS volunteers! One crucial project that CCS volunteers contribute to is the sustainable day-to-day operations of the Ritsona camp’s distribution center. We caught up with current CCS Greece volunteer Miranda Coombe, to learn more about her experience volunteering in the distribution center, and the impact CCS volunteers and donors are making there.