In response to the survey called ‘Refugee Aid and Local Economy in Greece’ (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeEjX4SSL7E31z34RCAjeiul2kObWMlIEJiEO-iUjEMyrYjLw/viewform?c=0&w=1) launched by needslist.co, I sent the following:
Let me start by saying that I agree it is important to quantify the assistance that foreign volunteers have provided to refugees in Greece. But I want to register the following disagreements:
- The premise of your endeavor is to show the benefits the Greek economy has reaped from the assistance given to refugees. This shows your ignorance of the situation on the ground.
- Your questionnaire takes away the agency from the refugee and the host community. The ‘good volunteer’ that is neither Greek nor refugee, speaks on behalf of the refugee who helps the Greek economy. This is unethical.
- If you knew a little bit about the international volunteer assistance as it took place in Greece, you would know that a small percentage was actually purchased in-country. We had truckloads of cloths, food, NFIs, come all the way from the UK, Sweden, Spain, often with the wrong assistance. Are you quantifying the cost of sending a container 3,000km to Greece???
- You would also know that most foreign volunteers looked for the cheapest to buy in-country, which was often Chinese shops that are frequently in violation of labour law in Greece.
- All the above apply for independent volunteers and groups of unregistered volunteers. The situation is different for small NGOs that have cropped up in this response and rely on volunteers (international and local).
- In a nutshell, the international volunteer looks very much like a neo-colonial enterprise, with waste of resources, similar to those of the official humanitarian system.
I am happy to elaborate.