This is not the episode that we thought we would be making just a few short weeks ago.
Amsterdam Mamas is not a news organisation, it is not within our power or remit to change the world. Our focus has been and will continue to be, to empower families in the city with information and support.
In recent weeks, we have born witness to the distress, anger and feelings of helplessness experienced by our community as the refugee crisis came ever closer to our borders. Our community desperately wanted to help those in need but working out how best to do that was very challenging.
We knew that we needed to look past the media images and to the stories behind them. In our episode today we will introduce you to “Mohammed” father of two, resident of Amsterdam for the last year and refugee of the Syrian War. We will also meet Lucinda Sallis, an aid worker with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation.
In the first half of the episode, we will hear from “Mohammed” as he tells us of his life in Damascus, Syria, why he decided to make his perilous journey to Europe and the life changing decisions he had to make along the way in order to secure his family’s future.
Our interview with Lucinda in the second half of the episode focuses on a different side of the story, that of the aid workers across the world helping those in grave need. Lucinda talks to us about how she found her career in humanitarian aid, the places around the globe she has worked and also what we as a community can do to best help those most desperately in need of our help.
We would like to thank both “Mohammed” and Lucinda for sharing their stories with us so that we could share them with you.
Producer’s Note: Listener’s may find some of the details of the stories shared in this episode distressing. We would, therefore, advise that you do not listen to this episode with young children present. If you wish to share the episode with older children we would recommend listening to it first yourself so that you can prepare for any questions that they might have.
The organisation who supported “Mohammed” when he arrived in the Netherlands is VluchtelingenWerk Nederland (VWN)
As we mention in the introduction, we chose not to have sponsorship for this podcast episode. We would, however, like to remind you that until the end of the year Amsterdam Mamas will be donating the proceeds of all Village Card, card sales to organisations working with refugees here in the Netherlands. You may purchase your card online here.
With thanks to Family Sallis for the image above of Lucinda and her son at a recent gathering in Amsterdam.
Donna Bardsley is the travel-loving mother of three homebodies who hate to leave the house. After living in Amsterdam for six years, she has recently moved her family back to the US where she is experiencing all the joys of reverse culture shock.