UCFB Academic Mohammed Seedat reflects on humanitarian work aiding Syrian refugees
UCFB academic Mohammed Seedat recently travelled to Idomeni, Greece to volunteer his services throughout the refugee crisis engulfing the continent. Working with UK based charity Syria Relief, he distributed aid to refugees as they prepared to cross the border into Macedonia and make the treacherous journey to safety in Europe.
The motivation behind Mohammed’s trip stemmed from his first trip to Syria back in 2013 where he witnessed the awful situation evolving in the country first-hand. When the refugee crisis hit this year, Mohammed couldn’t bear to see the refugees crossing the borders in such dangerous conditions with little or no food and water; thus he teamed up with Syria Relief and began working with them in their Emergency Relief Campaign.
UCFB Burnley academic Mohammed set up a Just Giving page and in just 48 hours raised £10,000, eventually increasing to £15,000 by the time he arrived in Greece. The money paid for vital supplies including water to keep all the refugees hydrated, and sun caps and clothes to keep children sheltered from the scorching sun. Dried food, toiletries, nappies and footwear were amongst other items that the money bought.
Upon returning to the UK, he commented on his experience:
“People always ask what motivates me to do things like this and there are so many reasons why, but the main reason is because I have seen first-hand how people suffer all over the world and I feel urged to help. I thought it was important that if I was raising all this money that I went to witness the situation myself and make sure the money raised was being spent in the right way.
“During my time in Idomeni I gave out supplies to many refugees not only from Syria, but from all over the world, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kurdistan. The charity and I also helped clean the camps, tend to the refugees medically and provide emotional support also. People were so grateful and relieved when I spoke to them and I am just glad that I can contribute in some way to making sure the situation gets better.”