How One Man Made Greece a More Welcoming Place for Refugees

A group of people walking through the fields caught Vasilis Tsartsanis’s eye as he passed the railroad that connects Greece to the rest of the Balkans. It was a warm September day in 2014, outside the small, usually quiet town of Idomeni. He stopped to watch. Another group passed by. Then a third group, who told him about a crossing that, one year later, would come to exemplify Europe’s refugee emergency.

Tsartsanis didn’t have to think long about what he should do. He ran and got some food, water, and clothes for the migrants. Long before international organizations and donors turned their attention to Idomeni, Tsartsanis and other locals were there offering their help.

Tsartsanis didn’t stop at handing out emergency supplies. He started writing to politicians and authorities, advocating on behalf of the refugees whose stories he knew better than most. He was soon invited to address the European Parliament. He talked to major media outlets.

He didn’t have a large organization behind him or a dedicated advocacy team—perhaps that was his strength. He was a local who was helping people in his area. He enjoyed the trust of his community. Tsartsanis now regularly organizes missions for members of parliament and EU governments to Greece’s camps and has been active in efforts to relocate refugees to other countries.

Tsartsanis’s story is one inspiring example of how we, as individuals, can do something to help those who don’t have a voice in our societies—how European citizens can trigger action by their leaders and change policy. All Tsartsanis needed was his dedication and humanity. He is an ordinary Greek who played an extraordinary role for refugees. There are many more like him whose efforts should be recognized.

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That's humanity a true Samaritan. That's what JESUS told us during his 33 years & 6 months on this Earth to serve others whole Heartedly. Anyone must know Christians are like this full of love compassion etc. Yes truely refugee crises is bad for them leaving their homeland truely unimaginable in this modern inhuman world. jala jacob.

Thank you for sharing this story

God safe such people!!!

What a wonderful person and an amazing venture. I admire him very much.

I personally congratulate Vasillis Tsartsanis for his great work and the committment he has shown. I wish him all the best and the refugees to find something worthy///

How wonderful that one person can bring change and alter lives. I live in the U.S. and can open my home to a family. If you can please contact me.

I live in Konya, Turkey; there are numerous people around me, trying to help migrants individually for whatever they do. Although official efforts are required by governments, these individual efforts, such as those by Tsartsanis, will be appreciated by all humanity in the end.

What we really need right now is such kind of individuals who have compassion and sympathy for their fellow human beings. Thank you Tsartsanis!!

The story about what was done by Tsartsanis is very touching

Each and every one of us should aspire to be like this guy. One of the many unsung heroes of our time. RESPECT

Blessings to those who care, and know that even a smile can help people in bad need.

The refugees need to be trained in basic needs and be put into organized well supplied camps to protect the refugees and local citizens from the clash of cultures that will leed into radicalism and gang activities.

"A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries, a world where anything is possible".
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has", Margaret Mead.

Open Society has done a great job and really put on efforts for those in need. GOD will guide and protect those with love, kind hearted and compassion heart. May GOD save you all and reduce all your sufferings.


What a huge example of humanity, care, love, compassion, solidarity and much more....
I'm speaking from Brazil and I'm trying to help homeless people by creating social projects...
And I would like to help you guys too!

I am humbled when I read about private people such as Vasilis Tsartsanis, just getting on and setting to sorting out a problem rather than turning away. Thank you for bring us his story. H.R.

Historias tristes e inconcebibles en nuestro tiempo. Esfuerzos, inquietudes que avanzan poco o mucho en logros de conciencia.
Yo pienso en la importancia de unificar criterios de acción conjunta. En donde partamos de las raíces de todo problema que nos aqueja como civilización. No importa de qué color seamos o creencia. El punto es que somos células de un organismo viviente que representa a nuestros pueblos del mundo. Pensemos que algunos pueblos son células del pulmón, otros del corazón o del tejido óseo. Conclusión a este razonamiento. Lo que le pase a un pueblo o célula tarde que temprano nos afectara como un cáncer. La corrupción que afecta en gran parte de nuestro mundo, la hemos permitido dejando que nuestros ¨servidores públicos¨ se sirvan de nuestro trabajo como esfuerzo imponiendo prioridades que solo favorecen a sus intereses y no a lo que su pueblo demanda en prioridad. Yo pienso que nuestro error, es caer en su juego, de divide y vencerás. Republicanos, demócratas, nacionalistas, rojos, azules, monarquías, dictaduras etc. etc. Todas han demostrado estar muy alejados de su pueblo. Espero y no generalizar. Pero no encuentro estabilidad global. O un futuro prometedor para la humanidad. Si no actuamos en conciencia y dialogamos los pueblos del mundo no habrá futuro para nosotros, pueblo.

This has done something towards restoring my faith in humanity the day after Trump banned refugees.

I have asked Vassilis for help several times when working on stories on the refugee crisis in northern Greece. Not only is he very very up to date with the situation but I have watched tirelessly talk to refugees for many long hours about the danger of following smugglers across borders. He is a genuinely very good, responsible person and feel lucky to have met and worked with him.


J'ai travaillé pour MSF Belgique ( Doctors Without Borders)
et BTC (Belgian Agency For Development) comme employée administrative. Je suis retraitée mais si je peux vous être utile , n'hésitez pas à me contacter. Je vous tient au courant de l'aide médicale ou autre qui s'organise ici.

Dear Vasilis . I was very touched by your humanity and beautiful heart. We here in West Wales have a small organisation to settle some Syrian families, The crisis is so big but I want to start here to share my heart and offer my help. How can I help Vasilis....With all my love...Shion

Vasilis you are a saint disguised as a Greek. I am humbled to read the stories of your work and the compassion you show towards helping the refugees.RESPECT

I'm really impressed of this man's great work , and I wish that some of the rich Arabic people can feel and do the same , God bless his warm hear

You are a true hero, those who have helped along the way are true humanitarians in every way! This is a very inspiring video. Thank you for all you continue to do!

God bless you Vasili, I wish I was there to help you. I hope and pray that you get all this love ❤️ back. Great to see the hospitals helping out. Wish we had more men like you around to teach the meaning of love.

yes! vasilis did a very good work and so many individuals, teams etc
but the question is.Why people of 55 countries flee from their countries through turkey , greece, to go to europe>
who told them that everything there is ok.
who told them that there is open societys to welcome everybody from everywhere without ask and examine who is this that he made everything possible to go overthere
questions to be answered from everybody.
i think that in his every single country must live every single person and not to flee for any reason.
let people live in peace and let people in their countries, with their relegions, and their customs and habbits.
anywhere else are foreigners.
try to make demonstrations for every country to be safe and democratic and live in peace.

Thank you for the real story telling - we all live in a very small world.

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