Students from the mboRijnland technical college in Alphen aan den Rijn are certainly not at the centre of the refugee crisis on the Greek islands. But that doesn’t mean that our work can’t somehow impact their future in a positive way. Students from the college were selected to come to Lesvos for three days, to learn more about the refugee crisis and to inspire them to become pro-active and engaged with their future. The trip also gave the students the chance to learn more about their community at mboRijnland technical college. With many of those studying there with a refugee background, those who came to Lesvos wanted to use the trip as the chance to learn more about what their classmates had gone through.
The group had a full itinerary, starting with a trip to the life jacket mountain where they got a chance to see first-hand the arrival point of boats travelling from Turkey. The next two days were spent getting more hands-on experience with our work. The students visited our CampUses, took part in activities with our residents and even did some volunteer work themselves - tidying the garden, sorting clothes and painting trash-cans. 18 year old Yassin Yassini from Nieuwkoop, was one of the students on the trip and we spoke to him to find out what he learned from the experience.
"Before I went to Lesvos, I didn’t know about the island. I looked on the internet and found out it used to be a tourist island, but that it is less so now since the refugees are there. I expected the camps to be worse than they are, because Movement On The Ground (MOTG) is doing a good job there and organising it well. My favourite part of the trip was the activities with the children. You saw that it made them very happy.
The most memorable thing was viewing the life jackets. There were so many vests, and when you realise that they were worn by people, then it is very sad to see.
Among other things, I learned that we have it good in the Netherlands. That we must be very satisfied with what we have. Many people have it less than we do, there it is just survival. Despite the fact that they are not having an easy time, people there remain positive and smile and we can learn from that."
We are glad to hear Yassin was able to learn from his time with us on Lesvos. Now back in the Netherlands, he and the other students who visited us from mboRijnland college will be spreading our mission and vision to their class mates. They’ve promised to become ambassadors for MOTG at their college and will be making presentations about their trip, as well as raising money for our projects.
For us, the most important part of the experience was inspiring young people that with a positive, can-do attitude real change can be made, whether in the humanitarian world, or in their own communities.
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