How does a hotel and catering manager from Co.Longford find herself sourcing emergency supplies for refugees fleeing their homes in Syria and many other countries involved in conflict or environmental disasters around the world? “It was meant to be a one-off trip volunteering and then I couldn’t stop thinking about these people” says Gillian Boyle, logistics coordinator with the International aid agency Concern.
She told me her first-hand experience over the past 16 years seeing people lose their homes.
“One story that really hit me hard was when we were in Lebanon. The team got a call very late at night alerting us of a family who had arrived from Syria – a family of six who had fled across the border with granny in tow and a 6 day old baby with nothing but the clothes on their back. This baby at 6 days old was going to be sleeping on the cold concrete. They had nothing. I mean not even a bottle of water to drink or wash themselves.
The people we deal with have absolutely nothing when we meet them. They are so grateful for something as simple as a blanket or a plastic covering to make a tent-like structure. The weather conditions are very harsh there too. About 25% of Lebanon’s population are refugees. It’s the size of Ireland so can you imagine about 1 million people there are refugees in such a small country”.
Gillian went on to speak about obstacles they face in sourcing supplies and accessing the refugees. You can listen to the interview in full below.
Right now refugees and displaced people need our support. This Refugee Week from 14-20th June, walk 10,000 steps a day for seven days and raise vital funds for refugees and displaced people.
You can register now at www.step-in-their-shoes.concern.net