GV Face: He Left Brazil to Live like a Refugee in Europe

Brazilian human rights and criminal lawyer Edgard Raoul used to work at a law firm in Sao Paulo. After a few months of feeling helpless while watching images and videos of people fleeing Syria and other conflict areas for a dangerous journey through Europe,  he quit his job and left his life behind.

He wanted to experience what refugees fleeing to Europe were going through. He started his journey in Turkey, then went to the Greek island Lesvos, Athens, through Idomeni onto Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Germany. All along the way he lived with refugees.

Our MENA contributor Faten Bushehri is interviewing Edgard in Amsterdam, where he is currently taking a break to prepare for his trip to the Middle East. He says he wants to understand where refugees come from.

In this episode of GV Face, we ask Edgard about what motivated him to leave his life behind and what he has learnt meeting and living with refugees.

Edgard holding a child refugee who barely made it crossing over turbulent waters from Turkey to Greece. Photo belongs to Edgard.

Edgard holding a child refugee who barely made it crossing over turbulent waters from Turkey to Greece. Photo provided by Edgard. Taken in Lesbos.

During the interview, Edgard talked about one of his most haunting experiences through the journey — rescuing a little girl:

I was carrying a dead child in my arms (thinking) it’s not fair. It’s completely not fair.. it’s a child. I asked please, wake up, wake up, you just made it. It’s not fair to die right now. You arrived in Greece, let’s go. Let’s continue the journey. I put my hand on her chest to try to feel her heart.. and I could feel something. After 5 to 7 minutes, she started to open her eyes. And I took her to the doctors and then I ran to her father to give him the notice.. you know.. your daughter is alive, let’s go.. your daughter is alive! I’m sure it was the toughest moment, I was sure she was dead.

Read more of our special coverage: Streams of Refugees Seek Sanctuary in Europe


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.