Leeds Beckett graduate travelling to Greece to help refugees
‘People are starting to wake up to the fact that these are actually human beings’
A Leeds Beckett graduate is travelling to Greece to help victims of the Syrian refugee crisis.
With the ongoing news coverage of the plight of Syrian refugees over the last few weeks, many have turned to charity to try and lend a helping hand.
However one Leeds Beckett graduate has gone above and beyond by booking a plane ticket to help first-hand on the Greek island of Kos.
April Humble, who studied Peace and Conflict Resolution at uni, is now crowdfunding for resources to help struggling refugees.
She said: “I’m no better than anyone else – I’m not going because I’m particularly skilled at it. It’s just that somebody has to do it.
“Obviously there’s a lot of people arriving on the shores of Europe, mainly from quite hard-hit countries which have basically just been ignored and neglected by our governments – the richest governments in all of the world.
“There’s quite a stark difference between attitudes in the UK and the rest of Europe at the minute. We tend to be very UK-centric while the rest see Europe as a whole.
“We’re in the midst of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, and the UK hasn’t opened up to the fact that this is a humanitarian crisis – there’s no threat, they’re just humans.
“People are starting to wake up to the fact that these are actually human beings. They can’t ignore it any more.”
April is keen to stress the outdated laws which are causing the problems, and is one of many calling for a change in European immigration law.
She says: “I think that Europe needs to admit to the fact that people should be allowed to cross borders. People have been migrating since the dawn of time, and especially so when bad things happen – it’s how they survive.
“No other continent in the world closes its borders, so it needs to relax them. And I know we’re so far away from that right now in terms of our mentality, but this is what it comes to in the end to allow people their dignity and safety.”
In terms of what she’ll actually be doing when she gets to Kos, April is under no illusion that it’ll be hard work.
She says: “There’s no aid organisations on any of the Greek islands at the moment, just volunteers on the ground.
“The people that run hotels and restaurants are doing everything they can, so it’s very much a self-organised group of volunteers.
“I’ll be working very closely with them because it would be extremely naive and probably detrimental to think I could go out there and do this on my own. I’m only one person, I know that.
“When I get out there with the money that I’ve raised, I’ll be very much under their guidance and I’ll get in touch with the refugees to see what they need.
“I’ll be spending the funds that I’ve raised on basics like water, sleeping bags, food and so on.
“I’m going for two weeks. I don’t see myself going as going along to volunteer, I see myself as going to pass on a lump sum of money which they desperately need.
“Two weeks isn’t really volunteering – that’s the kind of volunteering gap year kids do when they’re 18 and thinking they’re going to look after baby lion cubs for two weeks.”
When asked what others can do to help out, April suggests following in her footsteps – or if that’s not an option, merely joining the debate.
She says: “If you have the time to do it, go for a month. If you don’t have the time, then there’s lots of organisations and people like me popping up – give money.
“If anything, I’d just spread the word. Show the British government and the governments of Europe that we are not part of this; we don’t think this is just.
“We need to show them that this is not what the people want, and they need to listen to us.”
You can donate to April’s campaign here.