I am walking the Camino de Santiago from St Jean Pied de Port in France over the Pyrenees to Estella in Spain, a 115 kilometer journey, from May 22 - 26. The Camino de Santiago is an ancient Christian pilgrimage that in its entirety spans 800 kilometers. I'm pushing to do the first leg in five days to fundraise for a volunteering mission with refugees in Greece.
The money will be used to support myself (accommodation, food and living expenses) from June for two months volunteering with refugees in Lesbos. Charities and NGO's need help distributing supplies from warehouses to camps, boat spotting and providing psychosocial support to the refugees.
The island is home to an estimated 3,000 mainly Syrians and Iraqis, who are being held in limbo waiting for asylum. Most people cannot leave Lesbos until their cases are processed, which may takes months. One million people crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece in 2015, nearly half of them via the beaches of Lesbos. Last year Turkey struck a deal with the EU to hold a lot of refugees trying to make the journey, but a few boats still arrive every day at the island - packed with desperate mothers, fathers and children fleeing their war torn homes.
My day job is as a freelance journalist for the BBC and Al Jazeera in London. I have been covering stories on refugees and the war in Syria for the last year. Most of the time I talk to Syrians via Whatsapp, once they reach the UK or gather content for news stories. I want to get a better understanding of their plight, on the ground, in real time, where I can tangibly help.