09:01 GMT15 July 2020
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    Brazilian girl from São Paulo, Gabriela Shapazian, 16, is traveling to Greece for the third time as a volunteer to help refugees. Sputnik Brasil spoke to Shapazian about how her initiative was born and the work that she is doing in Greece.

    “The Middle East and everything that is connected with it has always been very hotly debated in our home, even when I was still very young. I grew up hearing about it. My mom always told me a lot about it as she is a journalist,” Shapazian told Sputnik Brasil.

    According to the volunteer, she and her mother took the crisis very close to heart. “My mother cried a lot and I said to her – ‘Go!’ She went and I went with her,” Shapazian said.

    Shapazian said that the situation with the refugees is the biggest humanitarian tragedy since the Second World War.

    Gabriela Shapazian
    © Sputnik / Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian

    “For my mom and me it became our own big project. We collect used glass bottles of beer and wine, decorate them, make floral installations that we then sell for as low as 15 to 25 Brazilian reals [from 4.6 to 7.8 dollars] and out of every 15 reals that we are able to make, nine go to me, so that I can live there [in Greece] while doing work as a volunteer.”

    She further said that the people really need everyone’s help. “This is a humanitarian issue and all the large organizations like the United Nations and others, with the exception of “Doctors without Borders,” are turning their backs on this issue and do not do anything to resolve the crisis,” Shapazian told Sputnik Brasil.

    Gabriela Shapazian
    © Sputnik / Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian
    © Sputnik / Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian

    “Then there are some people like me and my mom who give up just about everything to go and help,” she added.

    Talking about the horrors of the crisis, the volunteer said that going to Greece has taught her how to cope with the daily challenges of working in the refugee camp.

    Gabriela Shapazian
    © Sputnik / Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian

    “I saw with my own eyes, people dying from cold. However, I could not just stop, drop everything and think, ‘Oh God! That man died from cold in front of my eyes,’ because just then, there were 10-15 more boats arriving and in them hundreds of people who needed help,” Shapazian said.

    Today, after everything she has seen, she is most concerned about the situation of children and juveniles who undertake the journey all alone because their families do not have the financial ability to send all of them out of the countries where they reside.

    Gabriela Shapazian
    © Sputnik / Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian
    © Sputnik / Gabriela Shapazian
    Gabriela Shapazian

    According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, eight million people have been displaced inside Syria. Over 4.5 million people live in the neighboring countries and beyond.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting numerous opposition groups, as well as terrorist cells.

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    Tags:
    Syrian war, volunteers, humanitarian crisis, aid, refugees, United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Greece
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