The Refugee Frontline: Humanitarian Relief in Southeastern Europe

"I had an eye-opening Spring Break volunteering with 11 amazing students at the Croatian Red Cross Reception Center in Zagreb. During our time at the CRC, we participated in workshops that created a sense of community for residents who sought asylum, engaged in clean-up initiatives around the center's major facilities, created hygiene packages, and organized warehouse inventory. In addition to this tangible impact, our team had insightful discussions with both residents and CRC staff that revealed the true complexity of the current refugee crisis and the changing role that Croatia plays in alleviating the hardship faced by affected individuals. Due to its proximity to the Adriatic Sea, Croatia plays a vital role in the global refugee crisis as it is the first EU country in the traditional refugee journey.

The impact we created in a short period of time left our group inspired to continue to pursue similar volunteer work in the Bloomington community. Personally, I feel lucky to have experienced this trip with such a kind and fully-invested group of people who did everything in their power to create an inclusive environment, whether that meant speaking to residents in their native languages, or actively engaging with residents during work breaks. I am beyond grateful for the experience and the friendships I made on the trip." - Aron Barrera, Participant