Earlier this year, Luna Reyes, a volunteer for the Spanish Red Cross received tremendous backlash for hugging a Senegalese man after he swam from Morocco to Ceuta.
I remember reading about this interaction online in news articles and across social media. What resonated with me was that 8,000 individuals had risked their lives to reach the coast of Ceuta over 36 hours, and the news outlets were bursting at their seams with stories of this one act of kindness. Support flooded in for Luna after she received hate for an act she claimed to be “the most normal thing in the world”; she was subjected to xenophobic and racist abuse from far right supporters.
After working in the humanitarian aid sector for nearly 2 years, I have witnessed many common traits amongst all those that choose to work in this field. People act from a place of compassion, care and empathy, combined with the overwhelming urge of just wanting to help. Like Luna. Whether it is to provide education where the government does not, to provide food where there isn’t any or to provide internet so people can speak to their loved ones at home, the motivation is the same: to help and advocate for the rights of those affected by natural or man-made crises.
This year, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the volunteer community here at Action for Education, all those old and current. As a volunteer led organisation, we could not run our projects without them. Our teams in each location are fighting each day for human rights and education for all.
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