Brookes lecturer takes time out to volunteer at refugee camp in Greece

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Lighthouse Relief

A Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University is taking time out of work to volunteer at a refugee camp in Greece next month.

Helen Hawari, who works in the Oxford Brookes International department at the University, is taking unpaid leave in August to volunteer with Lighthouse Relief, a Swedish non-profit organisation which provides emergency relief to refugees who arrive on the Greek island of Lesvos and in the camps in mainland Greece. 

The charitable activities many of our staff take part in outside of their role at Brookes is just one example of how the University is a socially responsible and forward-thinking institution. Helen’s work is also a good example of how internationally focused many of our staff and students are.

Richard Side, Director of Oxford Brookes International

Helen expects to be working with women and children as a counsellor, translator, facilitator and teacher and is self-funding her travel and accommodation whilst volunteering but is keen to raise additional money for the charity as she explains: “I decided to volunteer to help Syrian refugees stranded in Greece because I am frustrated with the lack of official action, at both European government level and from larger NGOs.

“I will be taking as many educational materials and supplies as I can as well as sewing kits. Many families will spend months if not years in camps awaiting asylum so it is essential that after their basic needs for food, water, shelter and hygiene are met, their lives can have some sort of normalcy and dignity. I hope to play a small role facilitating that during my time there in August.”

Director of Oxford Brookes International, Richard Side said: “The charitable activities many of our staff take part in outside of their role at Brookes is just one example of how the University is a socially responsible and forward-thinking institution. Helen’s work is also a good example of how internationally focused many of our staff and students are. 

“I wish Helen all the best with her work this summer.”

Helen will be based in the Ritsona refugee camp for just over three weeks. 

Lighthouse Relief’s mission is to provide immediate crisis response, as well as long term relief, for the most vulnerable groups such as women, children, elderly and disabled people in a dignified, respectful and empowering way. More information about the charity and how to donate can be found on the Lighthouse Relief website.

Last month, Oxford Brookes supported the national I Am A Refugee campaign which celebrated the contribution of refugees to British society. A plaque representing Oxford Brookes alumna and social entrepreneur Melody Hossaini was placed on the University’s John Henry Brookes Building for the duration of the campaign.

Picture courtesy of Lighthouse Relief