6 June 2016 | Petra refugee camp, Greece [Victor Hulbert with Corrado Cozzi] Meet Lina Shalabi. She works for ADRA Serbia as an interpreter at Petra refugee camp on the foothills of Mount Olympus, Greece. She provides translation services in the medical centre for 1,000 Yazidis – 480 of them children. She is there because she cares.
Born to a Syrian father and Serbian mother she has lived in both cultures. “I know how these people feel,” she says. “I know how they lived before and it’s very difficult for me now to see how they live. They didn’t choose to live in tents.”
Lina first worked with refugees in Serbia last year as they poured through her country on their way to seek security and a future elsewhere in Europe. She has a degree in political science, but at the moment her satisfaction in life comes from serving this community of Yazidis trapped in Greece. She has heard their horrific stories. She knows they have no safe home to go back to in Syria or Iraq, and feels frustrated that at the moment they are marooned on a remote mountain side in Northern Greece.
She especially feels for the children – and spends a lot of her free time playing with them, singing their songs, learning Kurdish, and sharing love.
Looking on, it is clear the children – and their parents, understand Lina. They are seeing love in action.
Lina is just one of 15 ADRA staff working with other NGO’s and with the Greek authorities to help the residents of the Petra camp. She is a living example of the ADRA motto, “changing the world, one life at a time.” You can watch her story in a short four-minute video.
Her commitment is not unique. Travel to Oinofyta, an hour’s drive north of Athens and you will find another interpreter, Myriam, volunteering for AdventistHelp in a very smartly run, smaller camp mainly for Iraqi’s and Afghanistani’s. Myriam is special. She is 13 years old. Her family helped her escape the dangers of her home country after she was told she was going to be married to a 65-year-old man. She took four months to walk to Turkey and catch a boat to Greece. However, as with the other refugees, she found the border closed.
Myriam is a very bright child. She has taught herself English and is rapidly learning every other language from the Europeans volunteering on the site. Every day she is providing translation services. The clinic depends on her. However, ask her about her future and you will see a tear in her eye. She knows she wants an education. She knows she wants to serve. At the moment she does not know what that service will be – except to the service she is giving now.
To find out more about ADRA (the Adventist Development and Relief Agency), to find opportunities for volunteering, or to make a much needed donation, visit the ADRA website for your country or https://adra.org. AdventistHelp, a project run by committed lay-members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church working in close co-operation both with the church and with other NGO’s also needs both volunteers and donations to be able to continue their work in Oinofyta. Visit their website for more information or email [email protected]. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, director; Esti Pujic, editor
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