While everyone else celebrated last year’s Christmas with their loved ones, Alumna Hansa Rastogi (Class of 2009) spent her Christmas holidays volunteering at a refugee centre in Greece with a Norwegian organisation, Drop In The Ocean.
Her volunteering focused on teaching English and providing a safe place in the Centre for children and adults alike to play games, have a coffee or two and stay out of the cold.
Hansa, can you tell us more about the ‘Drop in the Ocean’ organisation and their work in Greece?
On the island of Lesvos, the organisation works mainly in the area around the Mytilini and Moria refugee camps with over 7500 refugees. About half are women and children.
Moria Camp, which was originally designed for 2000 residents, is crowded and clouded by adversities including a lack of security, unhygienic living conditions and inadequate bedding. Although there are many NGOs working with refugees on Lesvos, the needs are still vast.
Drop in the Ocean runs a centre in Moria Village with a focus on education and meaningful activities – a safe space away from the chaos in which they live.
The organisation also provides support for people who are on the run, and strives to spread the word about the current situation for refugees and migrants. Founded in September 2015, they have since organised more than 5500 volunteers to work with refugees in Greece.
What are you busy with, when you’re not volunteering?
After GIS, I completed my MEng in Biochemical Engineering at University College London. At the moment, I’m working as an Innovation Product Owner at KPMG London. My job involves shaping the vision for new audit software applications during their development, and guiding a team of technical and business resources in delivering that vision!
Hansa, can you share with us a bit about your time at GIS?
I had a great time at GIS (where I had my entire primary and secondary education). I’m particularly grateful for Mr Donaldson, my Chemistry teacher, and Mr Robinson, my Biology teachers in secondary school. They set me on a path that really helped me get to where I am today. My experiences at GIS also helped me adjust well into life at London, and I still have very close friends all the way back to Year 2 at GIS!
If you would like to find more about ‘Drop In The Ocean’ or would like to make a donation to their organisation, please check the details via this link.