Lesbos – Pediatric teachings Mytilini Hospital

In order to provide essential medical care to the refugees staying on Lesbos, Boat Refugee Foundation aims to maintain its excellent relations with Mytilini Hospital. In the past, BRF was able to donate a large quantity of important medical equipment to the hospital combined with teachings (LINK). Currently, the local pediatricians help us greatly to give vaccinations to refugee children (LINK). Now, BRF has built on its previous teachings to the local hospital staff and provided a two day Pediatric Emergency Training.

Alexandra Vinograd, our long term medical volunteer and Paediatric Emergency Physician, together with colleague Keri Cohn offered an interesting and interactive training to the pediatric interns and pediatricians of Mytilini Hospital. Due to the economic crisis ánd the refugee crisis, local doctors do not often receive additional medical trainings. Both the pediatricians and the pediatric interns stated to be very happy to attend the lectures and participate in the simulations about topics like pediatric care, x-ray review in pediatric trauma, and near drowning of children.

Do you want to support Boat Refugee Foundation in continuing to provide essential medical care to the refugees staying in Greece? We really need your help! IBAN account number: NL97 RBRB 0918 9326 37
f.a.o. Stichting Bootvluchteling.

Samos – Several conversations #3

“A new arrival is sitting in a tent in a crowded leaning hill since that was the only place left. “I mean, we didn’t expect to enter to a palace, with people welcoming us with waving hands. We know it was going to be bad. Just not, this bad.” His brother has a tattoo saying “Life goes on.” I ask him about it. He answers: “In all the misery, I realised, life goes on. In double sense. My life will go on until I die, but life will always go on, even without me.” His father says: “It is Easter tomorrow! I want to go to church!” But they are stuck in an unprotected prison.
I can only hope they find the holes in the fences soon enough…”

Text en photo: Ronja de Boer

Samos – Boat Refugee Foundation recognized as major partner in UNHCR coordination mechanism

We were happy to be recognized this week as a major partner in the new UNHCR coordination mechanism for Samos, put in place by UNHCR Athens. We were the only volunteer group to be included in the development workshop, and we have been offered some major responsibilities, that speak to the professionalism and success of our organization in the field. The mission remains stable and we are on track with many of our projects and objectives. We are eagerly awaiting a more coordinated response to the humanitarian emergency developing here, and hope to be part of the high level professional working groups.
Will you continue to support us? We really need your help! IBAN account number: NL97 RBRB 0918 9326 37 f.a.o. Stichting Bootvluchteling

Matteo Zevi

Lesbos – Safe electricity for refugees

Sybilla (volunteer for Boat Refugee Foundation) went to Lesbos with fellow students of The University of Edinburgh to realise the Elpis project: units which provide electricity, through solar energy, for the charging of refugees’ phones.

The solar unit works 10 hours per day and can charge 12 phones per hour. These are at least 120 phones per day.
Sybilla: “It’s no longer just an idea and from today has become a reality, providing free solar-powered electricity in the Kara Tepe camp, Lesvos! We’ve spent the day installing our first unit, and it’s fair to say we could not be happier. The camp manager has already requested three (!) more units, and there are even discussions of turning the whole camp solar. Today, we are seeing first hand that this could really be the beginning of something.

We are extremely grateful to the workers at the Boat Refugee Foundation (Stichting Bootvluchteling). They have recommended us to the camp manager, arranged meetings with key players on our behalf, even helped us set-up the unit this afternoon, and have encouraged and supported us throughout this week. This could not have happened without them.

Yet today was very difficult in other ways. The heat was intense, and the stories we heard from some of the young children were deeply upsetting. A young Iraqi boy drew us a picture of the crowded dinghy he and his family arrived in, alongside stories of dead brothers and of being rescued by aid workers. What they have been through is shocking in general, but particularly so for their age.

Today we have seen that Elpis is really successful and has so much potential to expand, to other solar projects and different camps. Want to know more? See https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-elpis#/”
Want to help Boat Refugee Foundation to support more of this kind of projects? Donate to: www.bootvluchteling.nl

Samos – Several conversations #2

“Are you okay?” he asked from one side of the gate.
“I am okay.” She answered from the other side of the gate.
“Why?”
“Because I believe.”
“In what?”
“Tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the second day after tomorrow, until it doesn’t matter if tomorrow exist or not. I believe in tomorrow and when I do that, I am happy. In the Koran the prophet tells a story that from all the dead comes life. We take wheat grain, which is dead matter, create it into bread, that makes us live. Here, everything is bad. But within the bad, there are people. And I meet them, and they have other thoughts then me, different skin colour and different stories. And at least, we can create some understanding and produce some laughter. And I believe, that from the bad things that is happening to us now, there will be growing something good. Like dead wheat grain is the source of tasty bread.”

Ronja de Boer

Samos – Several conversations #1

Several conversations, written by volunteer Ronja de Boer.

“His first memory from entering the hotspot was people calling to him: “Welcome! Now you are stuck here with us!”
A big man with a bloody chest runs down the hill in the hotspot after cutting himself with a razor. Some people get him inside the police area where he wanders around restlessly, screaming sentences like “It is enough!” and “I can’t stand this anymore!”. He threatens to cut his own throat if somebody will come closer to him. The children are called by their parents, but some are with us in the medical area.
I ask a girl there: “Are you scared?” The girl shrugs her shoulders and answers: “This is not a big deal.”

Text and Picture: Ronja de Boer (vrijwilliger Stichting Bootvluchteling)

Lesbos – Vaccination Program

Vaccinating children is globally regarded as one of the most important factors in improving public health. Refugee children have often not received full vaccinations in their country of origin. Authorities in Greece have so far been unable to give the refugee children staying in Lesbos their necessary vaccinations, putting them at risk for potentially severe and contagious infectious diseases.

Boat Refugee Foundation, in collaboration with Refugee Support Platform, Caritas Hellas, and the pediatricians of Mytilini Hospital, has found a way to vaccinate the refugee children staying at Caritas Hotel. After carefully investigating all 200 refugees living here, 10 children were found to need additional vaccinations, which they are currently receiving at Mytilini hospital, using WHO recommendations and the Greek national vaccination program.

This great improvement in the health of the refugee children requires your support. The costs for an official booklet and the vaccines to make a child fully up to date with his or her vaccinations are approximately 100 euros per child.
After a recent change in the population of Caritas Hotel, 25 more children have been identified to need additional vaccinations in the following month.

Please support the refugee children staying on Lesbos, help us giving them their necessary vaccinations, and donate today.