Golden Valley nonprofit works to help refugees
A Golden Valley relief organization is helping refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.  Headwaters Relief Organization volunteers are in Greece, where hundreds of refugees arrive each day. They're bringing hope and healing to people who have lost everything.

Some of their work takes place on the island of Lesbos, which is not far from Turkey. Many people cross the Aegean Sea in hopes of a finding better life.  Chief Executive Officer, Rebecca Thomley says the group was initially asked to help with psychological services, but has since morphed into something much bigger.

"You spend any time with women that have had acid thrown in their face or young girls who've been threaten if they go to school, their brothers or their mothers or fathers will be killed, there's no way to separate yourself," Thomley explained.

Many people are depressed, including children. Volunteers with Headwaters use play therapy, They use games, music and art to help the children with coping skills. Seeing children act like children is also beneficial for adults in the camps.

"Petty soon the community comes in and you build that level of trust. When they see their children having fun, you can bring smiles to their face," said Thomley.

Volunteers see the harm many refugees endure, and while they might not be able to solve or stop their problems from happening again, they can give the refugees hope for a brighter future.

"Maybe giving that one person the time to listen to how they felt, or to have tea with then in their tent, or to hold their baby so they can take a nap, that is all powerful and creates hope," replied "Thomley.

Headwaters started their Greece relief efforts last July. Volunteers have also provided women with psychological first aid training. This helps to promote empowerment and communication. Meanwhile, another team will leave next week. This time around they will send in more doctors to replace medical experts from another relief agency.

The group is in need of more volunteers and donations.  If you would like to help, log onto:  http://www.headwatersrelief.org/

Sonya Goins

April 10, 2017


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