Delivering 2.5t of donated goods, from the West Country and South Wales, to charities assisting refugees on the Greek island of Kos.
About the Project
Kos is a small Greek island 8km off the Turkish coast. It is reliant on tourism for it's economy, at a time when Greece as a country is undergoing enormous financial pressure. It's already strained infrastructure is struggling to cope with the thousands of refugees (shopkeepers, tradesmen, office workers...) fleeing war, persecution, and climate change. Many are trapped in the bureaucratic process - unable to gain the paperwork they need, and unable to travel legally without it. For someone holding the correct passport a journey from Turkey to Kos costs around £10. For someone without it can cost £1000, often in an unseaworthy vessel.
The response on the island has overwhelmingly been one of compassion, but it is struggling to cope. Ordinary people on the ground are stepping up to provide essential care and distribution. In the UK donations have been flooding in and now we have to transport them to where they are needed. I am driving 2.5t of donations (clothes, toys, tents, hygiene products, shoes, and first aid) collected from people across the West Country and South Wales to Athens. It will then be shipped to Kos and distributed primarily to Kos Kindness, although some donors have other charities collecting theirs.
The £2500 for delivery represents real value for money, and works out at £1 for every kg of aid. Bulk postal deliveries are prohibitively expensive for the quantity that donations are needed in. Groups and individuals are organising shipping containers and driving vans out but more are needed. I will need to use up to four boats on this 5000 mile journey. I am providing my own accomodation and food so 100% of the money contributed will go towards transport costs. Any remainder will be passed on to another project making the same journey.
About Kos Kindness
Some of the donations I am transporting are destined for other charities working in Greece and on the Islands. However the majority are destined for Kos Kindness. This is a bit about them:
The idea of Kos Kindness developed when a group of girls living on the island of Kos decided that they wanted to be able to reach out and help those less fortunate than themselves.
It was close to Christmas at the time, so the idea of putting together food supplies and little gifts for families and individuals having a tough time on the island soon sprung into life. Of course, this would not have been possible without the support of many local shops, businesses and individuals that donated food, gifts and their time.
Kos Kindness continued to grow from strength to strength with the help and continued support from many people living on the island and abroad. Many people wanted to make a difference and to bring some sunshine into other peoples lives that had become dark and grey.
Kos Kindness now operates with local associations. Here they collect clothes and distribute them throughout the island to those that are struggling through difficult times, they also purchase much needed groceries for many of those that are living in poverty due to the economic crisis that has hit Greece hard over the last few years.
Kos Kindness extend their hands and their hearts and encourage other people to show acts of kindness, even when sometimes they too are facing difficulties of their own. Plato quotes...."Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle'. Even by donating second hand clothing you are helping, by giving an hour of your time to sort through the clothing you are helping, donating a tin of food or a packet of pasta you are helping someone, somewhere who is in need in Kos to make it through another day!
'No-one has ever become poor by giving", quotes Anne Frank.