TRAVEL Volunteering

Bringing Beauty and Color to Kids in Need – Athens, Greece

While volunteering in a refugee camp in Athens, Greece for 2 months, I met many adorable children with bright smiles and kind laughs. The kids enjoyed games, activities, school and anything where you showed affection and love towards them. Since I have a passion for art, I started to draw henna-like designs on the kids. Everyone loved the drawings and soon enough I had children lined up for them. The girls adored having pretty flower and mandala designs on their hands. After watching the kids’ eagerness and enthusiasm for the designs, I realized that they loved having something unique and special drawn on their hands.

The boys loved to have their favorite soccer team logo drawn on their arm. Kids would come up to me all the time and say “Barcelona” or “Real Madrid” and as soon as I would finish one, I’d have a line of kids waiting to get their soccer tattoo. The girls also loved the soccer tattoos and enjoyed them just as much as the boys did as if it made them feel confident and strong. I think the kids liked having a memorable and individual drawing on their hand that made them feel loved.



The henna drawings were very easy to draw and easy to decorate. Sometimes I would decorate their hands with glitter or colored pens to make the henna stand out. Most of the time I would draw with a thin black marker and the ink would stay for about 3 days before wearing off. After I would finish a kid’s tattoo, some would often make me a drawing to thank me. Sometimes they would draw little stick people figures on a piece of paper and attempt to write my name in English.


After realizing how much the kids loved the drawings, I decided to start drawing them on pieces of paper, which I then made copies of and handed out to the kids. They ended up loving them so much that everyday I would make more drawings and bring them to the camp for everyone to enjoy. Sometimes even the parents would come and color in the drawings amidst all the children.

But the strange part was, they never kept the drawings for themselves or to show to their parents, they gave them back to me as gifts with tons of hearts and smiley faces drawn on them. My favorite part of this activity was seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. They were so grateful for even the slightest of actions and it goes to show you how little these kids receive. Most of them would give me big hugs and attempt to say “thank you” in English with the cutest accents. I am so thankful to have met these kids and they will never cease to amaze me with their beautiful smiles and big hearts.

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