METAdrasi volunteer, Evi Manola, talks about her experience.
What made you decide to volunteer?
I felt a great need to help people who had found themselves in Greece due to the refugee crisis. That was possible through volunteering. But I wanted to do it in a proper and professional manner. I researched a number of organisations which were involved with refugees. All I read about METAdrasi impressed me from the start. I saw it was a serious organisation with principles and realistic aims. So, in parallel with my work I use part of my free time to help METAdrasi.
What are the activities included in your volunteering?
I am involved in two activities. The protection network for homeless unaccompanied minors, and the educational programme Step2School.
What do you believe you have gained from volunteering?
Glances, smiles, behaviours. I’m always full of images. Images of noteworthy people who overcome large obstacles with huge reserves of strength. My world has been widened and includes people from faraway countries. I am informed and follow very important seminars which enrich my knowledge. Another benefit I have reaped is personal pleasure, since what I do satisfies me deeply, while benefitting my fellow humans and the society in which I live.
Would you like to share with us some thoughts or emotions related to your volunteering?
As the years go by I understand that nothing goes to waste and that every kind action is important, however small. I love human beings. It would be lovely if everyone could enjoy a beautiful life with justice and equal opportunities. I’m filled with joy when I am near children who stand with dignity and courtesy to claim the rights they deserve. I’d like to see myself on our planet as a presence who offers solace and a balm to the soul of precious people.
Is there a particular experience which you will never forget?
I will never forget the eyes of the children… In an escorting mission of an unaccompanied minor I bought a cactus from a street seller and named it after him. When I told him the next time I met him he called another child and showed him the photo of the cactus, said, ‘This is me…Soufian!’ It was funny but also very moving…
I was also moved by a little boy who remembered that, before lockdown, when he was having lessons at the school in Petralona, I helped with his maths and he did well in his test!
All the meetings with children are unforgettable!