Towards the end of 2017 I was commissioned by the charity Donate 4 Refugees to do a photo story in Greece on the volunteers working in the refugee crisis and the people they served.
The images below are a selection from that assignment, with accompanying captions that help tell the story.
In 2015 alone, 3, 771 migrants died trying to cross the waters from Turkey to Greece. The crisis, the deaths while crossing and the successful journeys have continued since.
The closeness of the Greek islands to the Turkish coastline makes Greece a popular landing point for those seeking refuge in Europe. Pictured here, fishing boats at a harbour in Chios, Greece. In the background is neighbouring Turkey.
It's hard not to spot the contradictions of the parallel worlds that now exist in Greece. Souda Camp, Chios, Greece.
Subhi / Former law student from Syria / Chios, Greece /
Subhi has sought refuge in Greece for a year and four months. Every day for the last six months he has prepared meals at the Chios People's Kitchen, that are then distributed to refugee children at various centres. The number varies. These days it's sixty kids, some of whom are unaccompanied. When the war started, Subhi was in this third year of law school in Syria.
Mental health is a major issue in the refugee community. There are recreational day-centres run by volunteers that provide services designed to encourage mental stability and development. Language classes, occupational guidance, field trips and counselling are among these services.
At one of the day-centres, The Hero Centre, Sajad from Iran is over the moon having been able to get in touch with his mother for Eid.
English class in progress at the Hero Centre, Chios, Greece.
Mohammed, from Syria, and his two sons. Souda Camp, Chios, Greece.
The Souda Camp has come under attack from members of the far-right group, Golden Dawn. This wall stands on top of a slope, overlooking part of the camp. The fence was erected to prevent further instances of Golden Dawn members throwing boulders down on the tents below.
Ahmad (right) was a barber in Syria. Souda Camp, Chios, Greece.
A game of football between young and old. Vial Refugee Camp, Chios, Greece.
In Lesvos, the husband and wife team of Rafat, a refugee from Syria, and Neda, an American who went to Greece to volunteer in the early stages of the crisis, run the charity House of Humanity. Here, Rafat assists a disabled man into a van heading to House of Humanity. Six days a week the charity travels to Moria camp as well as assigned refugee housing, to pick up migrants and take them to their centre. The man pictured was later able to secure a wheelchair gifted to him by the charity.
House of Humanity assigns points as a form of currency to each refugee that visits the centre. He/She can then use the points to select and 'purchase' needed items of clothing and food. Donated goods are what enable the charity to implement this system.
Kids mess about while a volunteer assists a man with his selection of food items. House of Humanity, Lesvos, Greece.
There is a real tension that exists in Greece, born out of the dual goals of maintaining their tourism industry in an economy that was already under strain prior to the refugee crisis, and accommodating those seeking refuge in Europe by the thousands. The small fishing village of Skala, Lesvos is a popular destination for tourists. It has also become a popular landing point for those coming over from Turkey. We witnessed this tension in Skala but we also witnessed the extreme warmth that can exist between the two communities.
For their efforts during the refugee crisis some residents of Skala were nominated in 2016 for the Nobel Peace Prize. Martisa Mavrapidi, pictured here on her porch in Skala, is one those who was nominated. Martisa, now 86, and two other elderly ladies washed clothes and cooked for the refugees that came in. Some Skala fishermen who helped save the lives of some stranded at sea were the others nominated.
A fishing boat in the bay at Mithymna, Lesvos, Greece.
Mithymna is a look-out point for the Skala -based volunteer group Refugee4Refugees. Each day members from the charity are on duty, looking out for potential incoming migrant boats. The charities and local authorities work together to establish a network and procedures that are followed once an incoming boat is spotted.
Omar fled the situation in Syria almost two years ago. He suffered major injuries and had to have reconstructive surgery on his left leg after the car he was driving, carrying injured persons to hospital in Damascus, was hit by a bomb. Omar survived. The passengers, who were relatives of a close friend, did not. Now he heads Refugees4Refugees, the charity he started.
Their combined efforts bring the migrants here, Stage 2, an in transit camp where they are registered with the local police and provided with a dry change of clothes, freshly cooked meals, tea and shelter, until they are transferred to Moria Refugee Camp.
Just three days before we arrived, thirty five newly arrived migrants slept overnight in the tents at Stage 2.
While we were in Skala, Lesvos, a boat carrying thirty one Afghan migrants arrived on the Greek island. Having made it up the hillside from the rocks where they landed, men, women and children sit under the moonlight. Five people from this boat were rescued on the rocks by Proactiva, while the twenty six others others who made it up the hill were met by volunteers from Lighthouse Relief and Refugee4Refugees.
An arriving transport vehicle illuminates those still waiting to be taken to the Stage 2 facility. In the background a volunteer hands out further food supplies.