#refugeeswelcome – volunteering at European borders


Röszke Camp (HU)  night shift 9/12/2015 (cc) Birgit Wolf

In September due to the inhuman situation for refugees when they arrive Europe and the EU borders, as thousands of other volunteers across Europe, I started to ask for donations, then, my car full of donations, I went to Roeszke with SOS Roeszke, an Viennese initiative organising convoys to the Hungarian / Serbian Borders – where volunteers and NGOs have set up an informal camp for the incoming refugees.

Röszke Camp (HU) - the days bofere border closed (cc) Birgit Wolf

Röszke Camp (HU) – the days before border closed (cc) Birgit Wolf

In the camp we volunteers organized volunteer teams for the family tent, the save the children tent, we managed the donations warehouse, we provided incoming refugees information on the camp at night, distributed blankets, clothes, shoes and so on. I brought food, searched places to sleep for families, if there were still tents available, set up tents, pulled off the wet socks from babies and children and searched dry ones for them,  I walked on the rail tracks and searched for people who were completely exhausted supporting them to get as much as possible of the human aid the needed.  The camp was located outside the village of  Roeszke in no man’s land on harvested fields, without water or electricity, no toilets, no waste disposal.

Tovarnik (HR), railway station, 9/25/2015 (cc) Birgit Wolf

Tovarnik (HR), railway station, 9/25/2015 (cc) Birgit Wolf

In the railway stations of Roeszke (orig. Röszke) and at the Croation/Serbian border in Tovarnik we supplied food, water and diapers – -as two weeks later, I went to Tovarnik and Opatovac. At the transit camp of Opatovac, I did night shifts on supplying arriving refugees – especially mothers and children – with broken shoes or sandals with dry shoes, socks and warm jackets. Supplying food, water, shoes, clothes sounds very easy – but conditions for organizing supply and distribution is really complicated and sometimes we can’t provide what is needed because of these very conditions – only searching the right size of shoes and finding new socks for the protection seekers was challenging because the lack of supply and velocity of their transit.

All the volunteering is about providing humanity and human aid to families and individual persons seeking protection from war and conflict. Sincerest appreciations to all the people across Europe collaborating to progress with this big challenge. In sum, I was 4 days / 3 nights – with each 2-2.5 hours sleep and shifts from 7.30 / 8 am in the morning until 5 / 5.30 am the next day in Röszke (Hungary), and 3 more days in Croatia in the area of Opatovac /Tovarnik. I still cannot write a proper article on all that I experienced and saw at the border of Hungary and Croatia to Serbia – I just have some photos and I know that we need to go on collecting donations, collaborating in volunteer initiatives and convoys – for a human winter for all protection seeking people in south and south-eastern Europe.  see also  #iha_help – intereuropean human aid and soskonvoi.com – the initiatives with which I am collaborating.


About birgitstoeckl

gender & communication expert, researcher, networker, activist.
This entry was posted in equal rights & social change, human rights, refugees /ayslum, xenophobia and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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