She wanted to go to Lesvos before, but her family told her not to. It was a friend of Giulia Berti (25) who told her about One Happy Family and made her decide to volunteer at the community center. ‘My family thought it would be too dangerous to work here. But when my friend told me about his experience, I just knew had to go.’
‘What I’ve learned here, is that it is so important to create a place where people feel safe. You always think that people who suffer need clothes, money and food. But we forget about the importance of the mental condition. One Happy Family takes care of this. And that is so important.’
This is the reason I came to Lesvos …
‘A friend of mine who volunteered in One Happy Family told me about his experience. He told me about the situation in Moria and how horrifying it was. But he also said that, despite this, he was able to make people smile when he worked in the community center.
I decided to contact the coordination team of One Happy Family to get more information. It felt safe. I trusted my friend and the people who are volunteering in the center. Then I decided I just had to go.’
My tasks at One Happy Family, were …
‘Working in the cafe, boutique and kitchen. At the beginning I found it difficult to tell the people to respect the rules we have here. That they cannot have more food than other persons, for example. But after a while I realized I had to tell them. In Moria they don’t have rules. The people are treated bad over there. It is the responsibility of the volunteers to show them that this is not the case in One Happy Family.’
One of my most memorable moments during my volunteer ship, was when we were serving food. We were all singing and dancing. It wasn’t just about distributing meals. It was about giving them a good time and enjoying the moment. It brought tears to my eyes.’
My experience in One Happy Family was …
Special and emotional. I thought I would come here to help the people. But now I feel my stay here is a gift to me, not to them. The contact I had with the people here is different from the contact I have with the people in Germany. It is more true, more authentic. They are so friendly, even though they are in a situation where other people would go crazy. They are all so strong.
I had the expectation that I would have to do a lot of physical work. But in the end, I wasn’t needed for this. The people from Moria who work here want to do it themselves. And that is amazing. They have a task. This gives them strength and self confidence.’
One Happy Family is …
‘A place to have a break from the cruel reality. A place where you can meet your friends and have a good talk. In here, the people are not alone. It’s really a community. It also prepares you for the normal life, how it should be. Unlike Moria, were the people are treated like animals.’
This is what I would like to tell other people …
‘I would recommend everybody to come to One Happy Family. Not only to help the refugees, but also for themselves. We should be kinder to each other. That is what you can learn in this place. It was the best decision I’ve made this year to visit this place. The connection you make with the people is real. I will come back for sure.’
Stay: 24 March – 6 April