In conversation with Julia Chanteray, Paul tells his story of providing refugee aid in Greece and what he learnt in this most challenging of situations. Having worked in the refugee camp in Calais, France, he realised that while essential aid was delivered effectively, it was often chaotic, undignified and unpopular with the local population. In Greece, his team were determined to do things differently. His aim was to place the dignity of all refugees at the heart of their activities, look after volunteers’ welfare, co-operate with other agencies, and invest in the local economy.
They achieved a lot in a short space of time. Much of this was due to the inspirational dedication of his volunteers, but in such an emotional environment, they needed significant support and guidance. There were also other pressures: donors made many demands, and a lot of trust building and negotiation was needed to deal with the UN Refugee Agency, Greek military and other NGOs.
Gain insights from Paul that may change the way you see challenging situations.