She decided to go to Lesvos because she felt the need to know what refugees in Europe go through. After this experience, Tina Leiser is ready to raise awareness in Switzerland.
‘I know my impact in Lesvos was really small. But I needed to come here to understand the whole situation. Now I can take the next step which is raising awareness. My impact starts now.’
My tasks in One Happy Family, were …
‘Teaching English and translating for the doctors in DocMobile. The English classes were very interesting. Even though I was the teacher, I also learned a lot of them. I learned about their language, their culture but also about their powerfulness. These people are so strong. And most of them also have a good sense of humor.’
‘Translating for the doctors was a bit more tough. I have heard a lot of horrible stories and I had to protect myself by setting a distance. You cannot get to personal, because it is terrible to realize that everything they describe truly happened to them. Despite this, I did feel very useful doing this job. As there are many Africans in Lesvos, a French translator is necessary.’
This struck me the most …
‘I did not realize that the refugees are stuck in Lesvos for such a long time. Some of them are here for months or even years. And they are living in an overcrowded camp with more than 7000 people. A camp where they are treated like animals. These people experienced the most horrible things but look how we welcome them. I feel so ashamed of this.
One of the hardest things for me was how the local people treat the refugees. I will always remember the night when greek people attacked refugees who were having a peaceful demonstration. They threw stones at families and children. This was the first time I experienced something so violent. It showed how tough life can be for refugees. They are not seen as human beings. It still makes me so sad.
One Happy Family is …
‘A bubble. But this is a good thing. The people need this. Over here they can rest, relax and maybe even enjoy their days. I really like how this community center is being run. It means a lot to me that we work together with the refugees to reach something. Also all the volunteers are involved in the projects. We all carry this wonderful center.
What i’d like to tell other people …
‘We are all part of the same world. We are all equal and we all have the same rights. The people I’ve meet here deserve it to have a life which they can enjoy. Not a life where they are worried whether they will get asylum or not. Think about this. And care about everyone. Not only about your own friends and family.’
Occupation: project officer
Stay: 1 april – 13 may