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Monday, January 23, 2017

New book: The Refugee Crisis: Through the Eyes of the Children, by Robin and Robert Jones (Blue Point Books)

Santa Barbara, CA: Robin and Robert Jones have lived part-time on the beautiful island of Lesbos, Greece for 42 years. Their small village of Molyvos, home to about 1,000 residents, has evolved in the last decades from an economy based on fishing and olives to one dependent on tourism. 

In 2015 Lesbos became a flashpoint for the refugee crisis sweeping Europe and Asia. When the Jones’s returned to Molyvos in April 2015, fewer than 150 refugees a week were landing on the island. By the time they left in November, 3,000 desperate people were pouring onto their beaches every day after having made the dangerous crossing of the Aegean Sea on overcrowded rubber rafts from Turkey.

The Jones’s joined other volunteers to help the refugees, over half of whom were women and children. Soaked, with few to no belongings, the refugees desperately wanted to continue their journey to Northern Europe and leave Greece as soon as possible. Until buses started in the fall they had to walk 60 kilometers over mountain roads in sweltering heat to cross the island to the official Registration centers. 

At a rest stop set up for the refugees, Robin, an art teacher, provided paper, colored pens and a plastic tablecloth she spread on the ground to give the children a place to draw. They sketched tanks and guns but also flowers and homes. Streaks of blue represented the water they had just crossed.

In The Refugee Crisis: Through the Eyes of the Children, Robin’s photographs and Robert’s narrative tell a compelling story of families fleeing from cities and towns where they feared for their lives. It is their hope that this book will, through the eyes of the children, bring home the real impact of the “Refugee Crisis” and put a human face on this unprecedented exodus. 

All the proceeds from the sales of Through the Eyes of the Children, over the actual costs, will be donated to IsraAID, one of the first NGOs to arrive on the island.

Just published by Blue Point Books, the full color paperback book is available on and at selected booksellers. 


* Analogously, see: "Unaccompanied Children from Central America: Foreign Policy Considerations," Congressional Research Service, April 11, 2016

About the Authors:

Robin and Robert Jones, on a break from their separate worlds, met by chance on the Greek island of Hydra in 1974. From there they traveled by ferry to the island of Lesbos and the beautiful village of Molyvos, where they fell in love with each other and the village. 

Robert has been traveling the world since he was 18 years old. He has owned an Asian art gallery and bookstore in Toronto, Canada, is a SCUBA instructor, a poet, and was president of an international processing and distribution company.

Robin holds a BFA and K-12 Teaching Certification from Temple University (Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia) and is passionate about family, photography, cooking, and travel (among many other things). 

Robert and Robin married in Toronto two years after their chance meeting in Greece. After years in the corporate world, in 1987 they retreated back to Molyvos with their three sons for a year’s sabbatical.

Returning to the States, they moved to Santa Barbara (where Robert had gone to high school) and started a successful travel company that they recently sold after 28 years. During those years they frequently returned to Molyvos where, in 2007, they bought a second home. They continue to spend 3-4 months a year there. 

Robin and Robert’s lives were forever changed by the refugee crisis. They knew while this crisis was unfolding that beyond the words and photos, it was an extraordinary moment for them personally to get a chance to experience the profound gift of caring for other humans in desperate need. The shared smiles, hands touching hearts in thanks and the wet eyes will never be forgotten.


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