August 9, 2016 | By United Sikhs
Athens, Greece: Harsharen Kaur was packing for her holiday in Athens last month when her conscience made her think about the plight of Syrian refugees she had been reading about for some time. As United Sikhs’ European Aid Coordinator, she wasted no time to link up with the Athens Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara and Caritas, the Catholic charity that serves refugee children in Athens. To top it all, Harsharen’s family, who were part of her holiday plans, joined in her humanitarian mission that saw United Sikhs and the local Gurdwara provide meals and essentials to Syrian refugees in Athens. Since last winter, United Sikhs has served hot meals to tens of thousands of refugees in camps in Hama, Syria and to those traveling through Macedonia from Greece.
United Sikhs partnered with Guru Nanak Darbar in Athens and the Caritas NGO’s Greek Chapter to take this endeavor forward. As her first step, Harsharen visited the Neokosmos Social House in Athens to identify their urgent needs. The social house serves as a shelter for refugees and also provides meals to approximately 71 people. In addition, nearly 35 children are helped through education.
After a meeting with Jaswinder Singh and Gurpal Singh, sevadars of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, and Caritas, we decided to provide essential items to the social house, which would ease the life of refugees living there.
“There are many refugees in desperate need in Athens, especially single mothers with very young kids. United Sikhs has made the whole Sikh community proud by serving these needy people”, said Jaswinder Singh, one of the sevadar managers of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara.
United Sikhs, who were assisted by Guru Nanak Darbar and Caritas NGO, bought essentials like pillows, medicines, plastic dishes and glasses, cleaning agents, towels and oil for them. We also set up credit with a pharmacy to provide medical supplies to the social house. Further, a play area was built up for children and they were also given educational books, coloring books, pens, felt tips, stress balls, etc.
“I feel blessed to be a part of United Sikhs. With God’s grace, within 4 days with the help of Guru Nanak Darbar Athens, we were able to assess the refugee situation in Athens to determine where the need was, learn about and create partnerships with Caritas’ Neo Kosmos Social House, source their requirements, and deliver them. We look forward to serving with both GND and Caritas on an ongoing basis”, said Harsharen Kaur, United Sikhs’ European Aid Coordinator.
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