Phil makes journey to Serbia to help refugees

Phil Rodgers has travelled to Serbia to assist with the aid effort. INNT 03-809CON

Phil Rodgers has travelled to Serbia to assist with the aid effort. INNT 03-809CON

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A Whitehead man travelled to the Serbian capital city of Belgrade last week to help with the refugee aid effort.

Phil Rodgers has spent a number of days at a refugee camp, where he has helped to provide aid to the many people who are still travelling from war torn regions.

He volunteered with an umbrella charity grouping, Refugee Aid Miksaliste, which works with a number of charities including Save The Children and The Mercy Corps.

Speaking from the camp, Phil said: “This camp was born out of necessity. The Serbian government didn’t really have the resources to deal with the issues that it was faced with. A number of people wanted to help with the situation. They banded together to try and help and the whole thing has grown from there.

“The organisation has received help from a number of volunteers from the UK and Ireland and I would urge anyone who can either make donations of their time or goods to certainly consider doing so. It is a very worthy cause, which you don’t really get a clear picture of until you are actually here seeing it all first hand.”

A spokesperson from Refugee Aid Miksaliste said: “We are very grateful for the help we have received from Phil and the other volunteers who have travelled here to help with this terrible situation. We are only a short plane ride away from the UK and we could always use people.

“We personally don’t receive cash donations, but we are currently needing donations of clothing. Men’s trousers and shoes are very much in demand at present.

“Phil should be commended for travelling out here in the middle of the winter. The weather is one of the main issues which is hampering the work that we are trying to do. Over the last few days we have had temperatures of minus 10 degrees, with a wind chill of minus 20 degrees. There has also been a lot of snow, so for Phil to come here and dedicate his time to the aid effort, he really has gone above and beyond.”

The camp that Phil was volunteering at has upwards of 200 refugees passing through it on a daily basis. Over the days that he has been working with the charity, he has come into contact with refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.

He heard first hand how the Taliban and IS had attacked people in Iraq and areas of the Middle East and North Africa.

If you would like to find out more information about Refugee Aid Miksaliste, make a goods donation or find out about how you can travel to the region to help, contact Donation Project Manager, Tajana Zadravec via email tajana.zadravec@gmail.com or check out their website refugee-aid-serbia--novi-planovi-za-pomoć-migrantima