The migration of peoples desperate for recognition and acceptance in another country is in the news everyday; and is occurring in many parts of the world. International aid agencies, some administering vast budgets supported by governmental backing, are overwhelmed by the task involved.
Consequently we hear of well-meaning volunteers, often community based who offer support to newly arrived migrants. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on the Greek Islands. Greece is currently taking a beating. Economically it is struggling with it’s own austerity measures. The EU are no pressing Greece to control it’s borders…and still the people come. By foot, by boat; the numbers appear never-ending. Fleeing Syria, Libya, the Lebanon, et al.
Many groups in the UK, perhaps supported by churches or local charities, have arranged collections of clothing, non-perishable foods, and other essential aid; aid to be driven by volunteers in convoy, or shipped by air or sea to areas where need is needed. Much of this aid is sent to the large refugee camps such as those Turkey and run by the major charities. Oxfam, Save the Children, etc have a wealth of logistics specialists able to deal with the tide of aid coming their way. This is why they are successful in many case.
But what of the aid that arrives at a small town such as on the island of Kos where the locals, out of a sense on wanting to make a difference, decide to support the migrant community. Often the arriving aid is unsorted, and on some occasions unsuitable. Bag upon bag of clothing for women, men and children, differing in age groups, size, etc. to be opened. How can any small group count on finding a pair of trousers for an adult male with a specific waist measurement amongst a pile of bags?
This is where ArmandoAid steps in, An unashamedly small charity set up by three Londoners who recognised that without the basic logistics in place at ground level, offering humanitarian aid becomes a lot harder.
ArmandoAid recognises the work of other small groups who provided clothing and the other essentials. They do not seek to compete but instead enhance what is already ongoing. Funding is provided for shelving to accommodate the large numbers of provision; cardboard boxes to aid storage and onward movement; clothes dryers are bought to help with the migrants’ own clothing that has been saturated by Mediterranean waters. They are looking at cooking equipment that could benefit groups that have received much needed food supplies.
Items are sourced at the best price, often from within Greece thus supporting an already frail economy.
The support is not targeted towards individuals, but the wider project. In the long-term, if ever the migration of refugees slows or ends, these resources can be left in place for other projects. Or to quote the proverb, “If you give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. ArmandoAid is about delivering that foundation, something to be built on.
Should yu wish to donate to ArmandoAid, please visit https://supporting-armandoaid.eventbrite.co.uk/. Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArmandoAid/?fref=ts or Twitter at https://twitter.com/ArmandoAid