When Pippa read a news story about refugees in Calais in 2015, she decided then and there to use her skills as a nurse to help. She contacted Doctors of the World and spent the autumn volunteering for us in the Idomeni refugee camp in northern Greece. She has been volunteering at our clinic in east London since early 2016.

“Working in Greece opened my eyes,” says Pippa, who has worked as a nurse in countries including the UK, USA, France and Nigeria. “It was the first time I had worked with refugees and it opened my eyes to how vulnerable they are.”

At our clinic in London, Pippa sees many patients suffering from stress-related pains, which sometimes seem to be flashbacks to earlier traumas. She particularly remembers a woman from east Asia who had been trafficked to Lebanon and later escaped to the UK.

The people who come to the clinic are impressive. They live in such impossible conditions and it amazes me how strong they are. They don’t complain - they might talk about their symptoms, but they don’t complain about their lives.

“She had been badly abused by another woman, and she had had her hair severely pulled. It was years ago but she still kept touching her head and saying she had pain there - you see a connection between people’s experiences and the physical manifestation of them,” Pippa says.

As a nurse at our clinic, Pippa checks patients to see if they have any urgent problems and need to be sent to hospital for emergency treatment. She also writes letters for patients to take to their GP, if they have conditions such as high blood pressure, and performs routine checks for pregnant women.

Photo by Mark Sherratt.