‘One Happy Family: a home for the people who need it’

Sam Salih

Sam Salih fled his country from war five years ago. He stayed for two months in Greece, travelled to Italy and eventually was able to get to Germany. Now he finally is in safety, he decided to commit his life to helping others who are stuck in Greece. This is his fourth time to volunteer at One Happy Family.

‘More than 9000 refugees are stuck on Lesvos. I know their suffering. It would be easier for me to forget what I’ve been through. But I don’t want to banish my past from my thoughts. It gives me the power to help others that are in the same situation I was.’

I decided to come to Lesvos, because …
‘Life is not fair. A lot of people don’t care about the people who are in need. The ones who suffer don’t have any power or rights. They need people to fight for them.

You get further in life, because other people decide to help you. The same goes for me. I have a stable life now. And I own it to the people who chose to lend me a helping hand.’

I keep coming back, because …
‘I was not born to just live for myself. I could use my free time to have fun. But I already have everything that makes me happy. I have a job, I have an apartment and I earn enough money. My life is stable. Why shouldn’t I try to accomplish the same for others? When I’m older, and I won’t be able to volunteer anymore, I will be happy that I’ve used my time helping others.’

One Happy Family is …
‘A home for the people who need it. This organization provides a daily program for more than five hundred people everyday. People can enjoy their time and use the qualities they have. This is good, because it means they are busy with something positive.

The visitors can go to school, get a haircut or talk with their friends while they are enjoying a cup of tea. The support they get here gives them hope. What is going on in this island is horrible. For this, life in One Happy Family is not the reality. But it is a reality that can make the people stable for now.’

You always have small goals and big dreams in life. Refugees are able to achieve their small goals here, while they are waiting for their big dream to come true. Which is to go of this island and be free.’

My message to refugees…
Visit one One Happy Family. This place gives you the opportunity to use your qualities or to practice your hobbies. It keeps you busy. It will free your mind for a while. When I arrived in Germany, I did not know anyone. A football club then welcomed me in their team. I went there several times a week and it made me forget about my problems. One Happy Family works exactly like this. They support you and keep you positive. It is a big family who’s door is open for everyone.

Age: 30

Country: Germany

Occupation: security

Stay: 1 March – 1 April