After many missions in Greece, Serbia and France we found one recurring issue: the absence of long-term volunteers on-site. 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 truly successful aid. Ensuring efficiency, providing continuity and supporting likewise invaluable short-term volunteers to be as effective as possible during their time on-site.
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 in the long run. After a while, savings simply run out. Consequently, key volunteers leave, their projects collapse, and refugees are left to deal with crisis situations without any help.
To support these long-term volunteers, we started the Grassroots Accelerator Program (initially called the Help a Hero! Program). We carefully select highly motivated and effective individuals, who bring lots of added value on the ground and commit to staying several months or longer. We match them with donors who fund some of their personal costs, to a maximum of €500/ per month, and support their projects. Additionally, we help these key volunteers grow their projects by, among others, connecting them to experts, providing advice & giving them access to templates e.g. concerning agreements with suppliers.
Often refugee volunteers participate in the work, too, helping out with translation services, cooking, being a liaison with other refugees, informing them. This gives the participating refugees a sense of purpose and an opportunity to develop themselves, whilst being of great importance to the long-term volunteers' work.
To sponsor one of our wonderful key long-term volunteers or to join our Grassroots Accelerator program please contact us.
Sophie is a French doctor with over four 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 primary health care.
In July 2018, Sophie (supported by us) started Med’EqualiTeam, opening a free clinic where she helps on average 2,500 patients per month. She is now wrapping up this project, as refugees are being directed to a new semi-closed camp far away from town. She will be looking into the possiblities of starting a new project for refugees with our support.
Hope has been in and out of Thessaloniki for the past years whilst completing her Masters. She has 5+ years of experience in humanitarian projects, having worked in Bolivia, Nepal, and the UK. Now, with our support, she is working full-time as one of the co-founders and coordinators of Wave Thessaloniki. The Wave team serves over 10,000 hot meals per week and equip new arrivals with essential supplies like shoes, warm clothes, and hygiene items.
Michael is the German coordinator of the Mobile Info Team, which provides legal information to over 10,000 refugees weekly! 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.
Working for different medical NGOs, Katie learned about the medical wellbeing and medical needs of the refugee population. This is why she founded Eudaimonia Medical Services - a non-profit organization that focuses on medical translation and logistics for diagnostic care. This has helped hundreds of refugees with complex medical diagnoses.