May 7 2015 – May 7 2016

1 year Boat Refugee Foundation!

How could that be reason for celebration, you might say? And justifiably so. To celebrate that you are in existence for a year, as an aid organisation, somehow feels a bit off. But then again, we can celebrate the help we were able to give this past year:

800 volunteers working, letting their hearts speak and rolling up their sleeves on Malta, Lesbos, Kos, Leros, Samos and in Athens and Idomeni. We were able to help tens of thousands of refugees with their first shelter, clothing, a place to sleep, food, drink, relaxation, medical care and personal attention. A warm welcome in the midst of all despair!

40 employees ensure that all teams in Greece are able to do their work well. That the planning is correct, the volunteers are being screened and prepared, that the supplies are all in order, the boats are able to head out, the teams are complete, that everybody does what it expected of him or her.

This way, we all contribute to the well-oiled machine which is now the Boat Refugee Foundation. From a small group of volunteers to a professional organisation with a firm foundation. Of that we are super proud!
Our annual report for 2015 is nearly finished. It was a hell of a job, it being a first time. We hope to put it online next week.

Thank you for your support this past year! Will you continue to follow us? Now that we will go full steam in 2016 to offer a helping hand to refugees?

Dutch Remembrance Day – When freedom costs you your life

Tonight we commemorate the victims of war. For the employees and volunteers of Boat Refugee Foundation that were or are active in Greece, this Remembrance Day will have an extra layer. The war came really close. The consequences of worldwide conflicts, in particular in the Middle East and Afghanistan, can be seen daily in our work. We also remember the many boat refugees that lost their lives at sea this year, or on their way to Europe.

We got this movie from Arianne Kattenberg. Last April she was on a medical mission via Doctors of the World, one of the alliance partners of the Boat Refugee Foundation. Together with this organisation we work in Camp Moria.
Arianne Kattenberg: “This film is about the dreams of refugees and their right to speak their minds. Now Europe decides their fate. Unfortunately this violates a great number of human rights and the situation is horrible, also on Lesbos. I want to send this message to the world so the more times this gets shared, the better. Together we must stand firm for this.”

Idomeni – The people at Idomeni

“Mahram has two small pliers. He uses one to cut the barbed wire and the other one to bend it. He cuts out the sharp tips first and makes straight wires of equal length of the rest. That’s when the real work starts: bending, fitting, measuring, repairing. He is proud of his collection of vehicles. Race cars, airplanes, helicopters. Mahram lives with his wife and children in a converted Decathlon tent, in the bushes behind the station building, next to the tracks.”

Mahram is one of the refguees stranded at the Greek-Macedonian border. Volunteer Dylan wrote several short stories which we would like to share with you as a trilogy.

Boat Refugee Foundation has been active on the Greek-Macedonian border as of April 1. The situation is heart breaking. Your support is necessary. Will you please help? You can donate throug the donation button at the top of this page or by using NL97 RBRB 0918 9326 37 f.a.o. Stichting Bootvluchteling.

Idomeni – First experiences

Coordinator Jetty on her experiences at Idomeni:

“The last days I visited two camps: EKO gas station and the much bigger Idomeni. The grim atmosphere has largely disappeared. The Sun is shining bright and most of the mud has completely vanished. As I look around the camp I see kids playing and women washing some clothes.

However, the conditions are still harsh. Dense crowds of people are everywhere and tents are closely stacked together. On top of that, people are waiting in long lines to get food and sanitary facilities are still scarce. As a result of the hot weather (today 36 degrees!) new problems arise. Tents are heating up, there are hardly any cool spots of shade, a lot of trash is scattered around and water points are scarce. The upcoming days we will find out where our help is most needed. But one thing is certain: there is a lot to do and we are eager to get started!

The EKO gas station and Idomeni camps are not official camps and Greek authorities are currently working on new camps in the region. We don’t know much about where the camps will end up, but we are certainly ready to assist there if possible.”

Photos: Lex van Iterson

Want to help us help? Only with your financial support we can act! Your donation literally makes the world a better place. Go to www.bootvluchteling.nl and donate. Send your donation to IBAN account number NL97 RBRB 0918 9326 37 f.o.a. Stichting Bootvluchteling – Boat Refugee Foundation.