Michaela, METAdrasi’s volunteer in the activity Escorting Missions for Unaccompanied Minors, talks about her experience.
What made you decide to volunteer?
I admire METAdrasi because it does very important work in the migration and refugee field in our country. After reading more about its activities, I decided to become a member and contribute as much as I can.
What are the activities included in your volunteering?
As a psychologist, I volunteer to participate in escorting missions for unaccompanied minors. This means that I accompany underage refugees who do not have parents or a guardian with them to the designated shelters. The escorting starts when I arrive at the place where the children are located and continues with their transfer to the centre where they will be accommodated. A mission can last several hours during which time I am responsible for keeping the children safe and informing them of the shelters to which they will be taken.
What do you think you have gained through volunteering?
Through volunteering as an escort, I have gained valuable skills and values that will stay with me forever. Some of these include making flexible and quick decisions, as it is necessary to think and act quickly in the field. It also takes responsibility and mental fortitude to successfully handle an escort. Empathy, flexibility and communication skills are my main characteristics during escorts, as often children speak different languages and it is necessary to understand their needs, but also to make them feel comfortable and safe with me.
Would you like to share with us some thoughts or feelings about your offer?
Every time I participate in a mission, there are children who will smile at me, offer me their place to sit, and even want to share their food with me. Then I always think that humanity and kindness are not values that are lost no matter how much some people have gone through. It makes me admire them even more for their strength and courage, and the faith they have in the world.
Is there any particular experience you had that you will never forget?
In my first escorting mission we picked up some children from Kos to take them to Athens. It was a long trip so we spent many hours with the children. Even though we didn’t speak the same language the children had an incredible sense of humour and it was a pleasant trip. When we arrived at our destination, which was the children’s shelter, I had a bittersweet feeling that I was going to say goodbye to the children, but I was sure that they would have a better future from now on. While dropping them off at the shelter, one of the children turned to me and said “you come with me too”. It is certain that I will never forget that sentence and the look on the child’s face at that moment.