Versione italiana | Search in site:

The story of the little elephant Quilombo

written by Daphne Vloumidi

Quilombo: the scruffy little elephant

Quilombo: the scruffy little elephant

From the kids' book "Quilombo: the scruffy little elephant" (Metaichmio), written by Daphne Vloumidi - owner with her husband of hotel Votsala in Lesvos, where she rescued several migrants - in order to tell her experience and explain to the children from all over the world the importance to host and help people in need.

In the summer of 2015, thousands of people from foreign countries, exhausted and terrified after difficult journeys, arrive on the islands of Lesvos, in search of a safer life for themselves and their children. Traumatic images and indescribable emotions for all of us on the island. We try to help. Temporary camps are set up as many refugees as possible cared for. To that effort, I contribute myself.

One day, I return from the camp clutching a little toy elephant. I found it there, dirty and discarded, and took it away with the idea of washing and sending it to my little grand-daughter who lives in England. Together with the elephant, I want to send them my thoughts about a host of things which I feel seeing all those small children arriving suddenly on our island, all those children who have made such a difficult journey…

That’s how this story was born and I dedicate it to all the children living in the refugee camps, but also to all those who sleep peacefully in their homes, with a toy animal in their arms.

Daphne Vloumidi, owner with her husband of hotel Votsala in Lesvos

5 March 2018

Don’t miss the story of the Righteous and the memory of Good

Once a month you will receive articles and events selected by Gariwo Editorial Board. Please fill out the field below and click on subscribe.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


whoever saves a life saves the entire world

In Yad Vashem's Memorial, in Jerusalem, the Garden of the Righteous remembers those who tried to rescue the Jews in the Holocaust: those who hidd them, helped them expatriate with forged documents, nourished them or gave them a job; those who, seeing them suffer, helped them somehow instead of remaining indifferent.In Yerevan's Wall of Remembrance the memorial stones remember the rescuers of Armenians during the genocide of 1915, those who tried to stop the massacre, refused to obey orders, sheltered children, reported the extermination that was occurring beneath their hopeless eyes to the world's public opinion.
In 1994 in Rwanda, some Tutsies who were hunted by the interahamwe militias were protected by neighbours, friends - some times strangers, too - belonginf to the Hutu ethnic group, who refused participating in the "man hunt" with machetes that had been planned by other Hutus to exterminate the country's Tutsi minority.
While ethnic cleansing was ravaging Bosnia leading to the murder of thousands innocent victims some people trying to escape the massacre were helped in the same way by neighbours, school mates, friends, or strangers, who were members of other ethnic groups.
Still todate, in many places in the world, there are such rescuers who risk and sometimes lose their lives in the attempt of helping the victims, and become victims themselves. Other times they lose their jobs, wellbeing, social status or they are imprisoned, tortured, cast out. At any rate, even before starting their endeavours, they know they run a serious risk, but they prefer doing so rather than bearing the weigh of remorse for remaining indifferent for the rest of their lives. Everytime by their action they "save the entire world", as stands in the Talmud.