“Walk in the shoes of another”

23rd February 2020

I became most aware of the refugee situation when speaking to my nan and grandad one summer about why she moved to England. They explained that the dictator Franco left her region of Spain in a derelict and poor condition and they had no option but to move to provide a better living for their family. They sailed over to England and found a home in Brentwood. Like my grandparents, in today’s world, many refugees are fleeing war-torn countries, or countries with corrupt governments. I felt as if it was my calling, or duty to help those that are fleeing today, to provide a glimpse of happiness and joy to their lives.

In the summer of 2019, I therefore decided to venture to Thermopylae, Greece, where ‘Happy Caravan’ an organisation that provides education and safety for refugees, was based. If there was ever a place to go to that would help you to restore your faith in humanity, Happy Caravan is that place. A month seems like a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things; however, I feel as if a great deal was accomplished during my stay.

The Happy Caravan programme really gave the students who came to the school an opportunity to develop as individuals, whether that be through the means of role play or by the expression of artwork. Their eagerness to learn and return to school was truly humbling and constantly displayed through students trying to sneak into the classroom or turning up to school an hour early to read. Coming from an environment where people dread going to school, this was honestly a sight to behold and something that will stick with me for a very long time. Furthermore, never have I seen such a welcoming and friendly community that treat you as if they’d known you their whole life. The smiles from the parents who walk their children to school, whilst their willingness to offer you some fruit or popcorn is an extremely heart-warming feeling that restores your faith in humanity.

Rob, aged 22

February 2020

For further information visit: www.happy-caravan.com