Solidarity Symi - Extending A Helping Hand

This is the logo for Solidarity Symi, a new charity initiative which was launched on Symi last week to help the many hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees currently arriving on our shores as they flee the fighting in their home towns and seek safety for the children.

Please look out for our collection boxes.  Even a small donation can add up to a big difference in someone's life.

One of the first things organised by Solidarity Symi was to get permission to use the old post office adjoining the police station as a store room and distribution point for donations of food and clothing for the refugees.  Toilets are also being fitted as currently everyone is using the one and only toilet at the police station.

Some have one bag to hold all their worldly possessions, others have lost whatever they had in the long journey from the war zone, across Turkey and then by sea in flimsy boats to Symi.

Dispensing fruit, biscuits and water.  Tourists and locals alike have been generous in their donations but feeding hundreds of hungry mouths means that crates of fruit, water and other essentials that don't require cooking are always welcome. Fresh fruit is particularly necessary for the many children in the group.

Trying on a sunhat.  There is little shade in Yialos in the middle of the day and if you are a refugee, where do you go to pass the time until you can get onto a ferry and continue your journey?  While the more affluent sit in coffee shops and make plans, those for whom even a cup of coffee is a luxury sit and wait on steps until destiny determines the next step in their lives.  As the ferries are so full at this time of the year many people have a long wait ahead, even though their paperwork has been processed and they are allowed to proceed with their journey.

The volunteers from Solidarity Symi are sorting all donations as they come in and distributing them according to the needs of each family so that everyone is treated fairly.  Families write down what they need and then a representative comes up with the list which is then compiled by whoever is on duty. The relief centre is open from 7 in the morning until 9 at night.  If you are on the island and have a little time to spare, you can contact Wendy or Andy to make a time to help out.  If you want to contribute any clothing, mens swimming shorts/boxers, long sleeved women's clothes that are quite modest and children's clothes are particularly welcome.  The reason for the swimming shorts is because in the absence of adequate shower facilities, the men go and swim in the sea to clean up.

Jane  – (Friday, August 21, 2015)  

Well done people of Symi this is so tragic and you are working so hard. I will come over with supplies from Datca next week. The people there and friends from UK have been very generous.

Anonymous –   – (Monday, August 24, 2015)  

A brilliant thing to do, a great blog post. We are coming on holiday to Symi in September and want to help in any way that we can. We will definitely fetch donations of clothes (as many as we can fit). Do you also need things for the children to do? Like paper, pencils, small games or toys? B x

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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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