After many missions in Greece, Serbia and France we found one recurring issue: the absence of a long-term volunteer onsite. On average volunteers stay one week, which means that the majority of the work is being done by well-meaning but inexperienced people.
We believe a long term volunteer is the linchpin of any truly successful aid. Ensuring efficiency, providing continuity and supporting those essential short-term volunteers to be as effective as possible during their time onsite.
These Heroes are the quintessential glue between all parties involved, the refugees, the locals, the partner NGOs, the suppliers and the authorities. What these heroes bring to the table is:
Next to putting their lives on hold for such a long time, most long-term volunteers have to pay their own costs like housing and food, which makes their position unsustainable for the long run. After a while, savings simply run out.
To support these long term volunteers, we started the Help a Hero! Program. We carefully select highly motivated and effective individuals, who bring lots of added value on the ground, and do not have the means to sustain themselves anymore. We match them with donors who fund some of their personal costs, (to a maximum of €500/ per month) and support their projects. Aside from running highly efficient projects, these volunteers are also our eyes and ears on the ground and are essential to identifying the best places to use our funds.
To become a donor or to one of our wonderful heroes or to join our Hero program please contact us.
Sophie is a French doctor with over 2 years of experience as a humanitarian in Greece. She coordinated the activities of DocMobile after which she identified a great need on the island of Samos; where there are thousands of refugees but there was no medical practice.
In July 2018, Sophie supported by us started Med’EqualiTeam, opening a free clinic where she helps on average a 1,000 patients per month. The camps in Samos are home to 4,500 residents whilst only being fit to hold 650. Diseases and infections, such as scabies, are rampant in the camps.
Sophie and her team are doing an amazing job working the clinic 6 days a week! They are real HEROES!
Jonathan is a European Lawyer and has worked in International Relations – but he also is an experienced paramedic and volunteered in different countries. He was shocked about the humanitarian situation in the still existing jungles in and around the city of Calais. Even though there are more than thousand displaced people, refugees and migrants in the north of France, the access to fundamental rights, such as access to healthcare, is often denied by local authorities.
After having volunteered in northern France twice, he decided to join the Coordinator’s Board of the First Aid Support Team (FAST) and now ensures access to first aid for hundreds of humans every day. Thank you Jonathan and your hero volunteers!
Michael is the German coordinator of the Mobile Info Team, who provide legal information to over 10,000 refugees! Having been in Greece since 2016, Michael is an essential and informed resource for refugees.
As well as regular Facebook posts and a daily hotline service, Michael and his team also support family reunification cases. Often, children are alone somewhere in Europe while their parents are still in Greece (or the other way around) and proving that you are indeed a family can be an incredibly complicated and lengthy process.
Michael and his team are Heroes to many families working their way back together.
Brittany has volunteered at projects in France, Serbia, Greece and more and is an expert at navigating the field. Coordinating foodKIND’s team of volunteers, who prepare thousands of meals a month together with refugees, is a big challenge, but she takes it in her stride.
With Brittany’s background in addressing mental health needs, she manages to psychologically support both the beneficiaries and her volunteer team. It’s really special to have someone who can simultaneously coordinate a team under pressure to make loads of meals and provide this psychological buffer. We’re very glad to have Brittany on board – she is a Hero.
Jitske graduated as a social worker with a focus on empowerment and liberation of people. At KLM she gave training to employees on committing to the bigger picture and she did a master’s in Neuro Linguistic Programming to understand even better how the minds of people work. As such, she learned how to motivate and unite a large group of people, which is exactly what she did on Lesbos. She coordinated a team of almost 60 volunteers, of which 50 were refugees from the camp. Together they:
We are proud to have supported Jitske!
Almut made the stereotype of German efficiency her own while managing foodKIND’s team through tumultuous times in Greece. Doubling their output from 10,000 to 20,000 meals with practically the same resources is just a tip of the iceberg on how Almut took a leadership position in this project.
When the beneficiaries they served were moved out of the area and the volunteer team was left without work, she pulled through and made an amazing deal with the Greek government to work in two refugee camps where they cook with the people instead of for them. Not only is foodKIND’s impact even bigger, they also give provide fun activities on the long and boring days in Greece.
Almut, you’re an absolute hero!