Taking Action in the Refugee Crisis

April 13, 2016


One of Adobe’s core values is involved. It is practiced year-round by inspiring employees like Nienke Schipper-Pauw in Amsterdam who seek out ways to engage in the world and make a direct social impact.

In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we are featuring Nienke’s recent work with six volunteers to help address the refugee crisis in Greece. Since January 2015, Lesvos has been inundated with more than 500,000 destitute immigrants fleeing the unrelenting war in Syria. The fortunate ones who make it to shore face an uncertain future, but share hope for a peaceful life.

Nienke and her team went to Lesvos to support public benefit organization, Because We Carry, supplying baby carriers, food, tents and solace to the refugees.


How did you learn about Because We Carry?

Because We Carry was started by three yoga teachers in Amsterdam. They saw images of refugees in need of help on the island of Lesvos. They decided ‘less talking, more action’ was needed so they asked for donations of baby carriers (like BabyBjorn) on Facebook. Expecting only 50 carriers, the request grew into a nationwide project and they quickly received 2,500. They decided to bring the carriers to Greece and found the refugees also needed food and shelter. Because We Carry started delivering breakfast and hot meals to thousands of refugees, funded solely by donations and enabled by rotating teams of volunteers.

I joined one of the teams to hand out dry clothes, baby carriers for the refugee’s long walking journey, and supplied the exhausted people with food. We also aimed at bringing joy, and sparking some hope and respect in this desperate situation.

“We feel very grateful to simply help people: feeding 2,000 to 3,000 people twice a day, putting socks on babies’ feet, or giving families with young children a tent and a blanket.” -Nienke Schipper-Pauw

What compelled you to take part in this cause?

I practice yoga and feel we should always act out of love not out of fear. Because We Carry is a grassroots organization; all funds go directly to supporting the refugees. Volunteers pay for their own flights to Lesvos and raise funds themselves. It felt really good to be able to make a difference.

What does Adobe’s support mean to you?

Adobe’s support is truly heart-warming. It makes me feel incredibly proud to work for a company that supports its employees in so many ways. First and foremost, I was grateful for the wonderful responses and generous donations from my colleagues which included money, clothing and moral support. Also, Adobe is a generous company that provides volunteer grants for my work with Because We Carry, a flexible time-off policy and of course, the matching grant for cash donations. We were able to buy food (lots of bananas!) and tents for shelter.

lesvos collage

How can readers help to support Because We Carry

For every donated Euro, we will provide a person with a nutritious meal. The goal of Because We Carry is to have a team of volunteers present continuously. So your donations are always welcome! We are a hands-on UNHCR approved organization that collaborates with various organizations present in Lesvos.