Community Refugee Volunteers

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Donna from our team has just returned from 6 weeks volunteering in Athens where the situation for refugees is so much worse than it was last winter. Now the world doesn’t view it as a crisis, fewer funds are available, news doesn’t reach the UK and the numbers of volunteers and services have decreased dramatically. Sadly the 70,000+ people trapped in Greece are mostly forgotten by the rest of the world but we at ASN Team UK and our partner NGOs continue to work in difficult conditions to do the best we can for people who need help most.

While working with Medical Volunteers International (MVI) who are a team of volunteer doctors, nurses, paramedics and medical students from all over the world that provide free medical treatment in squats, social and community centres, refugee camps, via street outreach and are currently setting up a permanent clinic in Athens Donna approached our board with an important, often overlooked funding request.

Many donors and volunteers do not realise the essential role of community refugee volunteers to the work that all grassroots NGOs do.

In the case of MVI it is wonderful that so many medical professionals continue to volunteer, often during their holidays and a network of amazing donors ensure access to medication and supplies but without the refugee volunteers it would be impossible to treat patients safely and use those supplies.

Refugee volunteers, usually young men who are trapped in Greece alone and without family support, who carry deep personal and emotional scars, who are struggling to find their place in Europe and who many people view negatively are the heart of the majority of small NGOs. It is them who truly understand what life is like for the refugees we help. It is them who build trust between the refugee community and NGO. It is them who have to hear hundreds of stories of suffering every month and translate it to the international volunteers. It is them who have to explain complex and sensitive information to the patients. It is them who are always on call to translate in an emergency. It is them who are so committed to helping their community that they use their small UNHCR cash allowance to buy a homeless person a sandwich or take patients to hospital to act as translators. It is them who work every day for months on end. And most importantly it is them who need extra support.

While international volunteers self fund their trips these amazing young guys simply don’t have that luxury. During the extrordinarily cold weather of the last month in Athens one of my refugee translators gave his last pair of socks to a young boy who had the cold and he ended up with the same cold as a result….. They are truly selfless superstars

In an ideal world all community volunteers should be compensated for their time but many donors specify which aid the donation is to be spent on meaning many NGOs are unable to pay these guys.”

From December we at ASN will pay a small monthly stipend to one of the MVI refugee volunteers. We would love to be able to pay both stipends but in order to do that we need more funds from you, our amazing donors! Could you commit to a monthly donation? Our charity checkout link can be found here www.asnteamuk.charitycheckout.co.uk

Learn more about MVI here. https://www.facebook.com/medicalvolunteersinternational/

For more information on how important refugee volvolunters are https://www.opendemocracy.net/…/refugee-to-refugee-humanita…

Donna

2018 – What A Year!

What a year 2018 has been.  Looking back over the year, its astonishing to see that we have spent over £27,500 on aid and support for the many refugees in Greece.  Its fantastic that the amount we have helped has grown year on year since we began in 2015, and this is down to the amazing generosity and hard work of our supporters.  When we say ASN Team UK is powered by you, we mean it- we remain completely voluntarily run and rely on donations to provide the help and support we do.

Here’s a breakdown of how we’ve made a difference this year;

  • £1777 has gone to Nea Kavala Art Without Borders funding food and art supplies.
  • £1143 has been spent on shipping donated aid items out to Greece.
  • £278 was spent on The Khora Info Map Project.
  • £2755 has been spent on the Hygiene Kit Program in Leros in collaboration with ECHO100Plus.
  • £4037 was granted to The Orange House funding food, renovations and the start up of a new project.
  • £1217 has been spent on food for refugees in Rhodes in collaboration with Oasis.
  • £1488 has supported residents in Villa Artemis and Pikpa, Leros funding a new washing machine, baby items, and other support as needed in collaboration with Leros Solidarity Network.
  • £440 was sent as a grant to Tiafi working in Turkey to help fund the operation of rehabilitation of disabled and injured child refugees.
  • £3652 was granted ECHO100Plus to support the operation of their amazing day centre- The Hub.
  • £3352 was spent on underwear in collaboration with The Unmentionables.
  • £3372 has been sent to Samos Volunteers to help fund their vital work on Samos.
  • £2466 was granted to The Greek Council For Refugees to help fund food vouchers and emergency items.
  • £343 was sent to Steps to fund a months worth of food for distribution in Athens.
  • £1127 has been given to Cribs International, funding rent for vulnerable refugee families in Athens.
  • £74 has been sent to Doc Mobile in Athens to support their work.

This aid has literally reached thousands of people in need, and thank you for all your support.  Our focus remains on reaching as many people as possible to help provide aid, support and hope to these vulnerable people.  The number of refugees in Greece is rising and there are still many gaps in care.  Help us fill as many of these as we can by clicking the button below.  All our thanks from the ASN Team- Ben, Denise, Donna, Joel and Sean.
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We’ve given a grant to Samos Volunteers

Thanks to your support we have recently provided a grant to Samos Volunteers . Samos is currently home to thousands of refugees in squalid, and terribly overcrowded conditions. The camp even spills out in tents into the forest, and winter is fast approaching. Samos Volunteers provide a lifeline through their Alpha centre. Here’s what they said;

“Dear Aegean Solidarity Network Team UK,

Thank you very much for your generous gift. We have received the grant of €1500, and are excited to continue our projects and activities with your help.

The money will be used to keep our community centre, ‘the Alpha Centre’, running. As such, it will be spent on things such as tea and sugar for everyone who comes to Alpha to find warmth and shelter; notebooks, pens and stationery for our students and teachers who commit to learning and teaching a new language or skill; and cleaning supplies that help us offer everyone from the camp a hygienic and clean getaway from the dreadful conditions they are forced to live in in the camp.

Furthermore, the money will be used to purchase the supplies (laundry detergent, laundry bags, cleaning supplies) for our laundry station, an initiative that we’ve set up together with Médecins sans Frontières to help improve the hygiene conditions in the camp, and combat the widespread scabies and bed bugs infestation.

We couldn’t be more grateful for your support, as we wouldn’t be able to continue our initiatives on Samos without you.

Thank you for everything.”

We couldn’t make the difference we do without your support, and we’re completely voluntary run, so rely on donations to be able to continue. Can you spare a few £s to help us continue to make a difference?
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