Search for jus­tice

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By MON­TANA ARDON

Former John XXIII Col­lege stu­dent Gabi Nind is com­mit­ted to seek­ing jus­tice in line with the Col­lege’s motto.

The City Beach res­i­dent has put her Mas­ters of Phi­los­o­phy stud­ies on hold to com­plete two months of vol­un­teer work in Chios, an is­land off Greece that has be­come home to thou­sands of mostly-syr­ian asy­lum seek­ers.

“Only a few months ago, the beaches were pris­tine and it still looked like a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion,” Miss Nind said.

“Now there are tents all along the beach and thou­sands more refugees.”

FOR Gabi Nind, writ­ing about the refugee sit­u­a­tion in Syria just did not feel right with­out know­ing about it prop­erly.

Grad­u­at­ing from Notre Dame Univer­sity re­cently with a de­gree in arts ma­jor­ing in pol­i­tics and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, the City Beach res­i­dent de­cided now was the time to take ac­tion and see it for her­self.

“I wanted to write about the Syr­ian refugee cri­sis in one of my units, but I re­alised how lit­tle I knew,” she said.

“I had no ex­pe­ri­ence in the field, so I with­drew from my Mas­ter in Phi­los­o­phy de­gree.”

Next Tues­day, the 22-year-old will em­bark on a jour­ney trav­el­ling around Europe for two months, be­fore ar­riv­ing at Chios, an is­land off Greece but nearer to Tur­key, to start work as a refugee vol­un­teer.

“Only a few months ago, the beaches were pris­tine and it still looked like a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion,” she said.

“Now, there are tents all along the beach and thou­sands more refugees than orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated.”

In March, more than 825 asy­lum seek­ers, mostly Syr­i­ans, ar­rived from Tur­key. In April, an­other 600 ar­rived.

At least 3000 refugees are housed in two over­crowded camps, mak­ing it un­de­ni­able that Chios is in a cri­sis.

“At first, I'll be ob­serv­ing boat arrivals, visas, food rounds and what I'm most pas­sion­ate about, the women's and chil­dren's cen­tre, then it will be de­cided where I go, which I do get a say in,” she said.

The former John XXIII Col­lege stu­dent said trav­el­ling to In­dia as part of the Col­lege's pil­grim­age pro­gram in 2011 opened her eyes to vol­un­teer­ing.

“The pil­grim­age had a big im­pact on me as we were able to see the sit­u­a­tion first­hand,” she said.

“My sis­ter also vol­un­teered in Fiji as well as In­dia work­ing in child­care and ab­so­lutely loved it.”

Miss Nind has been fundrais­ing and so far has raised enough to cover her food and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs while in Chios.

“I held a fundraiser re­cently and it was over­whelm­ing to see how many peo­ple do­nated,” she said.

“I also have enough to hope­fully im­ple­ment a pro­gram and pro­vide re­sources for women's health, as there is a lack of ba­sic san­i­tary items that ev­ery woman should have ac­cess to.”

Miss Nind hopes to com­plete her Mas­ter of Phi­los­o­phy when she returns to Perth.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470457

Gabi Nind is set to vol­un­teer at a refugee camp in Chios, Greece.

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