Meta: “Volunteering gave me a sense of purpose”

By Georgia Trismpioti, IFRC

Meta is a young woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently living in Kara Tepe Refugee Camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. She said she was forced to flee her home when her life was in danger arriving by boat at Lesvos eight months ago via Turkey.

“I was in danger there. I had no choice but to flee. I have witnessed people getting killed, women getting raped and people’s property looted and destroyed,” she said.

“Life is not easy here, but I hope that soon I will have a positive response from the Asylum Service and start a new life,” she said.

Meta is one of the 72 Red Cross hygiene promotion community volunteers in Kara Tepe. She cares about her community and she relishes her role advising women on how to use and keep the shower facilities clean. Alongside other volunteers, she educates refugee women about the risks of contracting infectious illnesses in unsanitary places and how to prevent them.

Spreading the right messages on hygiene good practices to help women avoid various types of diseases is more than just simple volunteering.

“As a human being, I felt, within me that call, the human dignity, to channel my energy into doing something. Women need to be advised to preserve their health and I love doing that. I will be forever grateful to the Red Cross for giving me this opportunity to be useful, keep me busy and to not cry all the time over the tough life I've been through,” said Meta.

Becoming a community volunteer can have a profoundly positive psychological benefit for people. Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, anxiety and even depression, common among people who may have experienced trauma at home or on the journey to Greece.

“I have a purpose within me now and as long as I’m here, I will continue working. What Red Cross is doing here is a great initiative. I encourage you to continue with such activities that make us feel strong and safe”, said Meta with a radiant smile, as she made a heart shape with her fingers.