Volunteer Spotlight: Tara, LHI Refugee Center


1. Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Tara. I’m 27 and from the Netherlands. Before I came to Serres I was studying for a Masters International Public Health, from which I graduated this summer.  During my master I worked in a refugee camp in Greece for the first time for a couple of months. Before that, I always wanted to work on projects that would lead to the empowerment of people and that would enable people to find their own strengths. During my time on Lesvos island (Greece), mI learned that I wanted to work for projects that helped empowering people who had to flee their homes. 

2. What is your position at LHI? 
I’m currently one of the field coordinators for LHI

3. How and why did you get involved with LHI?
The moment I learned about LHI via a website,  I straight away was very motivated to contribute to all activities it offers to the residents of Serres Camp. Especially, since I believe the activities here are extremely important since people are often stuck in camps for years and years without having anything to do. Having activities and a safe place to go to really changes the days and lives of people here.

4. What is a typical day for you at LHI's Refugee Center?
I never know what my day will bring and all my days look different, which I love love love. I spend a lot of time supporting the volunteers here on the ground, which is also my favorite part of the job. I try to make sure that they have all the tools here to run our activities and together we strategize on how we can improve the activities and how we can adapt to the always changing circumstances. I also really enjoy searching for collaboration with other NGOs, since we are stronger when we work together. 

5. What has been your most rewarding experience working at LHI’s refugee center in Greece?
For me the most rewarding moments are really the small ones, like playing football with the kids, seeing the women laugh together over a silly game in the Female-Friendly Space, cooking and dancing together with the residents. Basically, the simple moments of joy, when everyone is having fun. Simple, but so beautiful. 

6. What have you learned since volunteering with LHI in Serres? Has your perspective on anything changed?
In my time here I have learned how incredibly strong and resilient people are, which inspires me each day and keeps me going. Also, I have learnt to focus on the positive in this sometimes seemingly hopeless context. I mean how could I not? How inspiring is it it to work together each day with people from all over the world who travelled to Greece and give their time to work together to improve the lives of our fellow human beings. These individuals step up, when their governments refuse to do so. It amazes me each day. 

Learn more about volunteering in Greece by contacting Greecevolunteer@liftinghandsinternational.org!