Alexandra Palace actress at the frontline of refugee crisis on Greek island
- Credit: Archant
The 27-year-old gathered donations and went to the Moria registration point in Lesbos to distribute clothing to refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco and Algeria.
Ellie Jefferson believes approximately 72,000 asylum seekers travelled through Lesbos in the six weeks from January to February when she was living there.
“Moria used to be a prison and it was in no way built to deal with this,” Miss Jefferson said.
“The world hasn’t had to deal with this since World War Two.
“This isn’t like any refugee crisis we’ve had to deal with before – there’s nowhere for them to go.
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“It’s very difficult for Greece to turn around and say we won’t help them – they would be leaving them in the water.”
The UK military has just announced it is joining Nato forces returning people trying to reach Europe from Turkey.
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Miss Jefferson witnessed the suffering of people who had being smuggled across the sea from Turkey to Lesbos.
She described a snowstorm which lasted for about a week in Greece and Turkey.
A Pakistani family arrived at Lesbos, having been hiding in the Turkish mountains, and one of the young sons asked her if he could have a new pair of donated trainers.
But one of the doctors told Miss Jefferson that the child would lose the end of his feet and hands from frostbite.
The Greek government reportedly still favours Syrians in their registration system over other refugees.
Two small fights broke out while Miss Jefferson was there but she is “amazed” there weren’t more.
“All these nations were crammed together – all exhausted,” she said. “They all lost most of their money – I don’t know how they didn’t just lose their minds.”
Miss Jefferson, who works at The Maynard Arms pub as well as acting in fringe theatre, is fundraising to go back to Lesbos and continue her work with charity Better Days for Moria.
By giving refugees clothes and kind words, she felt she was giving them the “opportunity to feel human.”
She remembers a Pakistani refugee saying goodbye to her before he moved on.
“‘Miss, Miss, I’ve finally got my papers,’ he said. ‘But now I need a shirt to match my personality.
‘I’m on my way to Athens.’”
To sponsor Ellie Jefferson: http://bit.ly/1RwA1Ys