In terrible times, we meet big-hearted people. This is the case of Marcos Castillo, who went to Poland to help refugees and is now bringing a family to the Algarve, where he lives. In addition, Marcos has housed over 150 refugees in a hotel in Poland for which he is paying €5,000 a day.
Marcos, who was featured on Good Morning Britain, told The Portugal News what prompted him to take action. “I was watching the news like everyone else and I was getting angry and I started to admire Zelensky for his leadership qualities. Anyway, I decided to go there, I didn’t have any plan. I took €10,000 with me and decided to go to the border and try to help some families.”
However, when he got there, the scene was even worse than he could have expected. “TV doesn't give it justice. There were thousands of families sitting in their own blankets and waiting for a place to go, waiting in queues and food lines - without complaining. They are women and children without food, without clothes and sick children with hypothermia. If you're there, your heart is broken, you can't say no,” he said.
“People need money”
After seeing this whole nightmare, Marcos ended up putting 150 refugees in hotels, paying for their rooms and for their food. All of this is costing him €5,000 a day. “People are sending blankets and water, but they have stores in Poland, they don't need blankets. People need money. It's people like you and me, and staying in a facility like Bombeiros doesn't give them dignity. A month ago, these people were at work, taking their kids to school, living their normal lives.”
Now Marcos Castillo is back in Portugal, where he lives and owns a car business in Almancil, Platinum Auto, but he has brought a family of four from eight years old to 61, who will stay with him. "I'm going to give them a good place to live and I'm going to make sure they communicate with their families, but I can't rescue everyone," he lamented.
“I’m not a rich guy and I’ve spent more than a €100,000 of my own money so far. Now I’m going to work for two more weeks as I’ve abandoned my business, but after these two weeks I’ll go back to Poland to finish my job and find families a home. There are people that I need to take care of”.
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252