Susan Sarandon Shares Stories and Photos of Syrian Refugees in Greece During Her Holiday Humanitarian Visit
The actress told PEOPLE she is on the island of Lesbos to "listen and learn"
The actress, who traveled to Lesbos with RYOT.org, a virtual reality news company, is working with numerous organizations to bring aid to those arriving to the island as part of the migrant crisis.
In a series of new photos from her trip, Sarandon met with families at the Kara Tepe refugee camp to hear more about their journey from war-torn Syria.
One man, Fadi, 39, has been on Lesbos for two years with his wife and young children. Fadi told Sarandon that he traveled from Nabak, Syria, where he worked as a communications analyst.
While living in the camp, Fadi learned both Greek and English, and became a part of the International Rescue Committee, a group he told Sarandon he considers his second family.
The 69-year-old star previously told PEOPLE she wants “to listen and learn the stories of refugees who are fleeing from war and persecution. I also came to honor my grandparents, who were immigrants.”
Sarandon also met with newlyweds Mohamed, 30, and Ala, 23 – new arrivals to the Greek isle.
The pair, who were married three months ago, hope to eventually move to Germany where Mohamed can work as a tailor.
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Sarandon told ANA-MPA, a Greek news agency, that she hopes to bring attention to “what is happening in this corner of the world.”
“[The international community] must realize the size of the problem and understand it,” she said. “These people should stop being ‘somebody else’ and must become the refugees that we must stand by.”
On Monday, the star joined a sea rescue group from PROEM-AID, a nonprofit Spanish search and rescue association, to help guide migrants into the island, she wrote in her reporting series with The Huffington Post, called “The Crossing.”
Sarandon helped lead a boat of 60 people into shore, a process that went well on her trip but that, she wrote, “doesn’t always go this smoothly.”
“Recently, a boat went into shore sideways and flipped, trapping all underneath as the wind pulled them out to sea,” she shared. “Our heroes ran and together managed to lift the dinghy. The many trapped women and children were lifted to safety.”
Sarandon will stay in Greece through Christmas, she told PEOPLE, and will continue to share the stories of those she meets.