An interview with Cars of Hope activists Lena and Vicky of the Cars of Hope collective, who will travel to Lesvos in April to support refugees.
Published by Enough is Enough (EiE).
Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
Interview Cars Of Hope about Lesvos: „A deliberate policy designed to scare off new refugees”
EiE: That’s clearly something different as accompany somebody to a state office here. What brought you personally to support refugees in this way?
Vicky: In the winter of 2015 we received the images of the so-called hotspots on the Balkan route. Ich saw many women and children and immediately knew that I can’t just do nothing. For me personally it’s nothing special, even whe I know that only a few people sneak into the Moria camp to document the situation there. What I actually mean is the humanity, which is simply self-evident for me. I can’t feel well when I know that people have to suffer somehwre else. Of course I know very well that I can’t do much against the misery on this world alone, but for me that’s no reason to do nothing. This is also about myself: What kind of human do I want to be? Which values do I want to communicate.
Lena: I was deeply moved after I heard the story of a refugee that already arivved in Germany. Ofcourse I was aware of the fact that the journey of refugees isn’t exactly a Sunday stroll. I heard from a few friends who were on the Balkan route and on Lesvos, how you can practically support refugees in this hard situation. A report about the work of Cars of Hope on Lesvos increased my desire to get to know the situation on Lesvos personally and do something against it. It seems to be forgotten that the people that have to persevere the camps on Lesvos are people like you and me. That’s something we have to focus on again.
EiE: Last winter you were on Lesvos. Why again now?
Vicky: The situation on Lesvos is still a complete disaster. It’s upsetting that this is not a normal emergency or catastrophe, its a deliberate policy designed to scare off new refugees from coming to Europe.
There is shortage of almost all daily basic needs for people: nutrition, water, sanitary facilities, dry places to sleep, warmness, medicines and medical care by doctors. And that’s just the start of a long list.
EiE: Lena for you its the first time on Lesvos. What’s on your mind when you think about this mission?
Lena: I have to admit that I have a good but also a queasy feeling when I think about the upcoming operation. I feel positive that I can practically support people who need that support. For me personally it’s good to know that I will go to Lesvos with a team that has experience with the situation there. They have been there before. When I look at the pictures and the reports of the last operations I know that it will not be easy to find a starting point and to see that the things we do really have an effect. It will also not be easy to see the situation on Lesvos with my own eyes and to deal with it that this situation is condoned by the European Union and Germany is part of it.
EiE: How do you want to work on the ground?
Vicky: Like always we want to work closely together with refugees. That means that we get into contact with people who live in the Moria camp, ask them what they exactly need and then we try to get that for them.
Another key aspect is to document the situation on the ground. It’s appaling that you don’t find much in the mainstreammedia about that.
Lena: We already collected some donations like clothes here in Germany. We will ship these donations to Lesvos und distribute them among refugees. Especially shoes and underwear are needed.
EiE: Do you already have precise goals that you want to work on, on Lesvos?
Vicky: Oh yes! We have contacts with other groups that we want to support, like for instance Refugee 4 Refugees and the Attika warehouse. Furthermore we want to contact other groups in order to improve networking between the support structures on Lesvos. Some of us also want to create a kinf of field manual that gives an overview about the situation on Lesvos for new volunteers and people who are interested in it.
We will also try to do some interviews with refugees, so they can make their position clear and to give them a voice.
Lena: On top of that we especially want to support the families in the camps. We want to support them with basic needs like nutrition, clothes and sanitary products like for instance diapers. For me personally it’s also a goal not just to distribute some goods but to have an open ear and to show them that they are not forgotten. To show them that there are still people who care about the well-being of these fanilies!
EiE: These support operations are costing a lot of money. How do you finance that?
Vicky: We are financed 100% by donations. That’s the only way to stay independent. We try to work as transperent as we can. We mainly use the internet and social media for that. There we inform people regularly about our work, our progress and about our ideas for the future. Only people who think that it’s good what we are doing will donate.
EiE: How can people support you?
Vicky: There are very different possibilities. People can become a sustaining member of the Hopetal association and can support our work with a regular monthly donation. But it’s also possible to donate just once.
People can do that on our bank account:
Or they can support our current crowdfunding campaign Eastern behind barbed wire (Link: Crowdfunding Kampagne “Ostern hinter Stacheldraht”)
or people can donate with PayPal. Our PayPal adress is: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also order something of the Cars of Hope merch in our shop to support their work. All profits got to 100% to the Cars of Hope collective: https://enoughisenough14.org/product-tag/cars-of-hope/