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Post: Greece and the refugee crisis interview with Ben Gow

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Greece and the refugee crisis interview with Ben Gow

image I was privileged to interview Ben Gow,  in the studio on Tuesday.

He is  just 18 years old when he decided to take the initiative to travel out to offer his help.

He travelled to the frontline of the refugee crisis in Lesvos, Greece.

He went to the  small little island in Greece, Ben saw on average twenty seven boats arrive daily carrying up to three thousand people of all ages.

Ben said: “I didn’t realise what an issue it was, how can I tell people what’s good if I don’t do it myself? So I used the money my grandfather left me, bought a ticket and set of on this incredible journey.”

On his first night he stayed at the  watch tower, on the  was the night shift, it was  pitch black with  no street lights,  he waited patiently for a boat to be visible to alert the other volunteers.image

He said: “On your first day you first reaction is to be afraid, overwhelmed when you see the amount of people trying to get out the boat, passing small children to you, Its dangerous.”

His story appears to be quite  unique with just regular people taking the initiative to turn up and help out where they can, he often saw short term holiday makers.

The operation is  not organised by the government just information spread via social networking sites like Facebook.

He saw ordinary people standing up for what they believe is right and helping where they can, often no skills just compassion for human beings.

Ben said: “It is understandable why they make the dangerous journey, these are just ordinary people like you or me that have had there worlds turned upside down with the threat of death.”

He was emotionally affected by the handshake of an elderly mans brother thanking him for saving his life from hyperthermia.

Ben added: “Every boat told a new story, with a  mixture of people cold, wet and  hungry some with gun shot wounds, they have not showered for days many travelling with new babies or even about to give birth.”

The volunteers maintain the 25km stretch of the beach.

Human trafficking groups are  taking advantage of the Syrian Crisis, smuggling refugees with high rates and false promises and boats over loaded and dangerous crossings.

Ben said: “The boat trip on a calm day can take up to an hour, however  the international water boundary stops lifeboats and volunteers  from crossing to help in Turkish waters,  If a boat gets into difficulty all they can do is wait and hope they can get across.”

Ben witnessed a strike while he was in Lesvos creating a  back log of refugees of  about 8000 people.  sleeping out on the floors in sleep bags with about 60 percent being women and children.

The Schengen agreement could cause a huge panic as being the last chance to escape their troublesome country for the refugees and could potentially mean an end to arriving in Greece.

Ben will be travelling to Izmir, Turkey on the 15th of February to volunteer with refugees who are stateless.

He said: “Anyone can help by donating to the cause, or go out there and help. Stand up for what you believe in.”

If you would like to help you can find Ben on Facebook  or Project Northern Lights or you can donate at compassionplan@gmail.com.

 

 

Podcast to follow..