Top Tel Aviv University Graduate Student is working in Greece with Refugees
Upon graduating from Tel Aviv University’s world renowned Master’s Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Samantha Fenwick began volunteering with the consultancy and development service CAMPFIRE Innovation in Greece. Her studies at TAU prepared her for the life-changing work she does day in and day out with refugees who are in dire need of help from volunteers.
When asked how her Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution and Mediation prepared her for the work she is doing today, Samantha said, “I learned a lot about how to bridge the gap between theory and practice as well as how to prevent harm in my Humanitarian Aid course. In my law course, I learned how to understand international law and its effects on refugees. My course on Israeli Politics and Society helped me to understand the concept of social cleavages, which is very relevant to the cleavages I see every day in the refugee groups that I work with in Greece.”
In addition to the intensive courses that Samantha took at TAU, she also interned at ASSAF Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers and Amnesty International Israel in Tel Aviv as a part of her degree. During her internship, she worked with female refugees from Eritrea and became interested in how the reality of a refugee crisis relates to the theories she was learning about from her professors.
Upon graduation, Samantha worked hard in order to raise enough funds in her home state of Florida so that she would be able to go to Greece to work with refugees. After living and studying in Israel, Samantha saw that the way a conflict was presented in the media was not always aligned with the reality on the ground. This realization motivated her to work personally with refugees in order to help them and gain a better understanding about the reality of their situation.
Samantha began using Facebook groups and other social media tools in order to discover different global organizations that work with refugees. During her search, she read about CAMPFIRE Innovation and knew that this organization represented both her values and the next step in her career path that she wished to pursue.
CAMPFIRE Innovation works with grassroots “Smart Aid” groups in Greece in order to empower them and provide them with visibility, a voice and resources. Their goal is to support efficient and innovative responses to the refugee crisis. They do this work through mapping their services, effectively distributing resources, showcasing and supporting inspiring projects, improving scalability and using tech in order to make further advances. In her work with CAMPFIRE Innovation, Samantha works with Syrian, Iraqi, Yazidi, Afghani and Sudanese refugees in Greece.