Quit the rat race to support refugees

When her dad died unexpectedly, Dumfries woman Mhoirbheinn Doyle could hear some of his words of wisdom ringing in her ears.

“He told me life was too short to be working all the time, and that I should get out and see the world while I was young”, she said.

Earlier this year, the 25-year-old decided to take his advice when she packed in her office job and fled to Greece.

But she hasn’t been living it up on Lesbos for the past few months – she’s been supporting refugees who risked their lives crossing the Aegean sea’s perilous waters in a bid to make it to safety from war-torn Syria.

It’s not Mhoirbheinn’s first volunteering role. As a youngster, she helped at the Dumfries YES and LGBT Youth and has always had a passion for human rights and helping others.

And she spent Christmas 2015 with her mum Shona Mackinnon at a refugee camp in France.

She said: “We’re not that big on Christmas so we decided we’d load my van with aid including clothes and food, and go to the camp in Dunkirk.

“We met the most amazing people during our two weeks there and it made me realise that any one of us could end up in a situation like the refugees found themselves in.”

It was while she was at the camp in Dunkirk that her dad sadly died.

Afterwards, the former Troqueer primary pupil moved to Cornwall for a fresh start. But she grew increasingly bored of her job as an account manager, and dreamed of quitting the rat race.

With bills to pay, it seemed like it might never become a reality and she settled into a life of “normality”.

But the urge to change her life finally became too strong to ignore.

Mhoirbheinn handed in her notice and in April, swopped the sandy beaches and seaside resorts of Cornwall for the island of Lesbos, which has become a focal point of the refugee crisis in Greece.

Mhoirbheinn landed a volunteering role with Greek charity Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI), that provides humanitarian aid in times of crisis.

Her initial role was as a skipper in charge of two rescue boats but due to the number of immigrant boats being pushed back to Turkish shores by the Coastguard, she’s been more involved with helping to set up a clinic to provide aid to new arrivals.

In Lesbos, she’s been trained among other things on how to rescue unconscious people from the water.

“It’s horrible to see what these people are having to go through, particularly the children”, she said.

“They’re so scared but at the same time, excited at starting a new life.

“I’ve absolutely no regrets about taking my dad’s advice and quitting the office job. To anyone out there who is thinking of doing the same thing, I’d tell them to go for it.”

Source: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/dumfries-aid-volunteer-quit-rat-10843324

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