After many missions in Greece, Serbia and France we found one recurring issue: the absence of a long-term volunteer 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 any truly successful aid. Ensuring efficiency, providing continuity and supporting those essential 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 in crisis situations.
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. Additionally, we help the key volunteers grow their projects by, among others, connecting them to experts, providing advise & giving them access to our framework agreements with suppliers.
Most of our Heroes have a small group of volunteer-refugees that help them out with translation services, helping to cook, being a liaison with other refugees, informing them.This gives these refugees a sense of purpose and an opportunity to develop themselves.
To become a donor to one of our wonderful Heroes or to join our Help a Hero program please contact us.
Justyna and Wave Thessaloniki are here for the most vulnerable refugee groups, those that cannot stay in camps and have to live in the streets. Every month, they cook and distribute over 10,000 meals! Also, whenever Justyna identifies other needs, such as warm clothes or drinking water, Wave Thessaloniki can react extremely quickly and provide it.
Isa is working with CollectiveAid in Subotica (Serbia) near the Serbian-Hungarian border. They are supporting people on the move sleeping outside of official accommodation in squats or makeshift-camps. The objectives of the project are hygiene solutions (through shower and laundry services) and the provision of vital material aid (such as blankets or clothing items).
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.
Hope has been in and out of Thessaloniki for the past two 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.
Mama Rosa is almost a celebrity under hundreds of refugees living in the streets of Thessaloniki. Having been the coordinator for Medical Volunteers Internation since August 2018, Rose has been seeing 80-100 patients daily, completely changing the livelihood of these refugees in the streets. Also, due to Rose’s experience and contacts she creates a myriad of synergies among NGOs and other (humanitarian) services.