Our Week on the Ground

Our Week on the Ground

Zoe Pike, Operations Intern at The Unmentionables

Ever since the recent refugee crisis began, refugees have said to be invading in ‘swarms’, been compared to ‘cockroaches’ and been talked about as ‘waves’. Refugees have been dehumanised and the situation inflamed to function as a source of fear.

What these words fail to conceptualise, however, is that these refugees are people.

The week I spent with The Unmentionables in Chios and Athens drove that point home harder than ever. Refugees are not animals. They are not ‘swarms’ or ‘waves’; they are not invading. They are some of the kindest, most intelligent, well educated and gracious people I have ever met.

They are the family of six from Afghanistan who insisted we have tea in their tent, despite having little to call their own.

They are the little girl who drew me this picture and counted to ten in English, despite only being five.

They are the men who play on the HOPE Refugee United football team, overcoming division and isolation.

They are the twelve year old boy who offered to help translate Arabic and guide us around the camp.

They are the lawyer and translator from Afghanistan who used to work for the American and Canadian governments.


Helping these people regain some sense of dignity and recognition in the face of their widespread dehumanisation makes this work the most important thing I have ever done. These people are people, and they deserve to be treated as such.

Zoe Pike, accompanied by seven board directors, interns and volunteers from The Unmentionables, conducted three successful distributions in Greece last month. Together, they provided 1,240 pairs of underwear, 300 sanitary pads and 100 condoms to displaced women, men and children. The refugee population in Chios has doubled in the last few weeks, putting a greater strain on resources available. These communities need your support more than ever; help us preserve human dignity by donating today! With your support, we can distribute more underwear, feminine hygiene and sexual health products.

Blandine West