Stand By Me Lesvos

Leros Refugee Youth Group: how a self organization works

We support the Leros Refugee Youth Group to enhance their activities and recently did a small interview to introduce one of its founders, Mohammad Taluli who is originally from Gaza strip.

Q: Can you shortly explain us how and why you became active in refugee self organization?

A: In the past was active while I was inside Gaza and I helped organizing awareness and technical meetings there, also I was organizing demonstrations of humanitarian demands there, because many live under the reality of injustice, marginalization and lack of awareness, and this has caused me arrests and security prosecutions, because this increases people’s awareness and this is not accepted by the Religious Rulers.

Then I had to flee Gaza and came to Greece last year. Here in Leros I recognized very few activities were done in the camp and especially now during the Corona Crisis.

The stagnation in the camp and the absence of initiative from the population there, I started to make this effort, in order to motivate the refugees to take the initiative. So first in April we formed the Leros Corona Awareness Team (LCAT) as a result of the global threat of the Coronavirus, with the aim of cleaning the camp, and educating people about the dangers facing them.

Later this evolved into another organization that mainly works to support refugee children in the camp, unleash their creativity and support women. Now we call it the Leros Refugee Youth Group and already conducted various activities thanks also to the support from Stand by me Lesvos.

Q: Self-organizing, what was the process like?

A: Yes, it was my initiative in Gaza to visit families and groups of young people inside universities and schools, and also my home was the seat of these meetings sometimes. Self-means that I was able to persuade my friends of what I believe in and this faith has turned into a collective action we do in order to achieve humanitarian goals.

Q: Did you encounter opposition?

A: The truth in the whole world is that there is opposition to certain ideas, but in Gaza the opposition was imprisonment and prosecution, and this was a serious matter that I could not endure against Hamas and the other Islamist groups.

Q: How do you deal with it?

A: I was suffering in prisons, yet I was patient for the success of the noble idea that I believe in and fight for.

Q: How do you see the impact of what you do?

A: What I do in the camp was part of my thoughts that I aspired to implement inside Gaza, and I find that every day there is an opportunity to see what I can do, and I do not wait for a reward at this stage, I am only planting this my goal and I am trying to take care to spread more seeds. We hope many people notice our activities and start supporting us so we can do more and more here.

Q: Does it relate to your other ideas and values?

A: Linked to every idea, law and values ​​that enhance the reality of the human being and give him his freedom, and I want to say that I do not embrace any religion, and the human religion is his treatment in the end.

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