"People are very grateful for what little we feel we can do. They are grateful that they are not completely forgotten, and even though they have lost everything they still have dignity and hope."
This was the 12th overseas aid trip the charity had undertaken since the three friends, Julie Vallance, Maria Ward and Carole Roberts founded it two years ago.
The Ripple Effect Lancaster have previously visited other Greek Islands and countries around Europe to provide aid to refugees over the past few years.
Speaking of the 4-day trip, Carole said: “The aim was to make the most of the time available whilst on Chios; we distributed aid and established where we could provide support in the future.
"We visited the only official camp on Chios but found the aid available to those living there woefully inadequate.
“People are very grateful for what little we feel we can do. They are grateful that they are not completely forgotten, and even though they have lost everything they still have dignity and hope.”
Speaking of the latest trip, Julie from The Ripple Effect - Lancaster, highlighted the struggles the charity has when trying to provide aid in official refugee camps.
She said: “Nothing surprises me anymore; the fact that the authorities put barriers in the way of the distribution of much needed aid is beyond belief.”
The charity relies on donations from local businesses and the public, of clothing, sleeping bags, large supplies of toiletries and women’s hygiene products and also require cash donations for transporting supplies.
Maria Ward from the charity said: “We are very grateful for the continued support we receive throughout the year. Donations and any fund raising are vital if we are to continue to make a difference to the lives of those living in appalling conditions.
“We would also love to find a reliable haulage company that could assist us in the delivery of our aid. Securing definitive delivery dates enables us to arrive at the optimum time.”
During the trip, the charity also visited The Hope Centre, a volunteer run space which offers refugees some time away from the camp and provides more ‘homely’ comforts.
Carole described the work the volunteers at The Hope Centre provide: “This place offers a few hours of tranquillity for refugees, away from the camp, giving them access to showers, toiletries, toothbrushes and toothpaste which is all very precious in these circumstances.
“They also have an outdoor play area for children and an indoor learning environment offering educational activities where children can feel safe for a few hours, which sadly is a very rare occurrence for these children. The trauma the children have already experienced often makes this an overwhelming experience for them.”
The charity has another trip planned in July and they aim to do a minimum of three trips per year to provide vital aid to refugees in need.