“Mama Rosa” is almost a celebrity under hundreds of refugees living in the streets of Thessaloniki. She explains: “When they struggle with the pain, I hold their hand; when they need a hug, I give it to them. This close-body, maternal contact simply isn’t possible for younger volunteers. The men see me as an elderly person with more experience. I often remind them of their mothers and, for that, they respect me.”
Also, due to Rose’s experience and contacts she creates a myriad of synergies among NGOs and other (humanitarian) services: “My experience in the field during the last year has given me a good overview of the situation for homeless people in Thessaloniki. I am aware of their needs, their worries, and able to respond quickly in emergency cases.”
Medical Volunteers has been providing medical care to displaced people since 2016. It started in April 2016 when one of their founders, Kai, was volunteering in the Idomeni camp and saw the urgent need for basic health care. On returning to Hamburg, he worked with friends to plan what was very soon to become a NGO for Medical Volunteers.
Just a few months later, after procuring an ambulance and some donated medical supplies, Kai drove to Thessaloniki and the idea Medical Volunteers was born. Soon, volunteers started arriving and it wasn’t long before Medical Volunteers were offering treatment to up to 250 refugees per day in Thessaloniki.
Since then, Medical Volunteers also works in Lesvos and Athensand is working hard to provide free medical care to people who would otherwise be without it.
Since 2016, HAN has provided more than 80 tons emergency supplies like blankets, food and medicine, mostly donated by our partners and supported more than ten Heroes in Thessaloniki, Samos, Patras, Calais and Bosnia amongst others. HAN spends 100% of funds on its goals and are matched 50-100 fold in value (8 mio Euro’s) by donations in kind and contributions by other NGO’s.