While most of us remain stuck inside the four walls of our own homes, UCFB student Rob Dawley courageously travelled to Serbia last month determined to help and support vulnerable refugees arriving in the country.

Working for a charitable organization called Collective Aid, Rob is busy providing supplies for refugees, most of whom have come from Afghanistan and are seeking asylum in Europe, across the city of Belgrade. The BA (Hons) Football Business & Media student works with desperate families to ensure they have access to clean clothes, as well as showers and laundry services.

Explaining why he chose to volunteer abroad, Rob said: “The reason I came to Serbia was, at the end of the day, to help people. My uncle is Libyan, and he lives a happy life now, but it’s not always been easy for him and he’s someone who definitely inspired me to do this.”

He added: “So many people my age just live their lives through their phones and I’ve never wanted that to be me. I wanted to educate myself on the difficult living conditions of these people.”

But it’s not just himself that Rob wants to educate – he is determined to raise awareness for this under-reported humanitarian crisis and has been using his Snapchat account to expose the harsh realities of life for many. Having received an overwhelming 15,000 views so far, he’s striving to use the platform to help more young people understand the situation in Serbia.

Rob said: “I have been documenting it on my Snapchat to gain people’s attention, which is what brought the attention of the Telegraph. I've had people messaging me from all over Europe to say this was the first time they'd seen anything about the issues we're experiencing here.”

The UCFB Etihad Campus student added: “We're kind of boots on the ground, so to speak. With just phones we can get places you might not if you're Sky or the BBC with the big cameras and all the equipment."

While Rob admits he’s found it difficult to cope at times, witnessing the physical and psychological pain of many, the experience has been a tremendously eye-opening as well as rewarding one – and he wouldn’t change his involvement with it.

He said: “I know it’s cliché but the most rewarding parts have been the looks on the faces of those we help. The smallest act of providing a shower can go such a long way. It’s the small things too. They’re so tidy, for example, always folding the towels we provide and cleaning up after themselves when so many people assume they would be so unhappy and more or less have given up on life.”

Rob added: “For me, when I get home I will appreciate things so much more. I had the same feeling when I got back from Romania in 2019 after completing similar work. The little things we take for granted here are things these people are risking their lives to get.”