Saleh, a 37-year-old Syrian refugee, at Nea Kavala camp, Greece (2017).

Syrian refugee becomes a volunteer at Nea Kavala camp, Greece

Saleh is a 37-year-old maintenance engineer who fled Syria more than a year ago. Like so many others living in camps across Greece, he brought critical skills and qualifications with him that he was eager to use – this is how he started volunteering to help the camp community.

Saleh started volunteering with the Red Cross’ water and sanitation team soon after arriving at Nea Kavala, helping to ensure people in the camp have access to clean water and safe facilities. But he played more than a technician’s role, and has been central in making sure that the Red Cross has a strong relationship with the community and listens to feedback, comments and concerns from people in the camp.

I collect feedback and complaints from people here which helps us to improve facilities and services including shelter, the water system and the toilets, making sure they are accessible and appropriate for everyone. We talk to people face-to-face, and also through suggestion boxes for people who prefer to give their feedback anonymously.”

Ensuring that people have a voice and can communicate about what is and what is not working, what they need and what they don’t need, providing information and creating a two-way discussion is central to the Red Cross’s response in Greece.

This story is published as part of the campaign for International Volunteer Day 2017: Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.