Friday, November 18, 2016

Good News from Acupuncture Without Borders

The report below comes from Acupuncture w/out Borders recent and ongoing work with refugees in Greece. I just want everyone of my readers to know about all the great work done by this "little engine that could" organization! I love what they are doing!  This kind of thing is how we stand up for what we believe in!
How can we grow this kind of work in the world?
Visit the AWB website for ways that you can get involved. Good wishes to us all and thank you for reading.

AWB Trauma Healing Work (and Zumba!) at the Ritsona and Oinofyta

Refugee Camps in Greece – August 2016 Update!

This August, AWB trained volunteers Amy Schroeder, Sarah Fields and Lisa Lourey (AWB’s third team to Greece) have been providing ear treatments, massage, yoga and Zumba classes in the Ritsona and Oinofyta refugee camps north of Athens, Greece. Yes, Zumba! Now a wildly popular part of the day at the Ritsona camp’s “Women Only Space” due to Lisa’s amazing Zumba teaching skills and ability to speak Arabic.

Ritsona camp houses 600 Syrian and Kurdish refugees, while the Oinofyta camp provides shelter to almost 800 Afghan refugees. There are more than 25 other camps throughout Greece where over 50,000 refugees wait for asylum or deportation back to Turkey. AWB has been working with NGOs at Ritsona andOinofyta including Lighthouse Relief, ECHO, I Am You, and the Seventh Day Adventists to provide treatments to relief workers and camp residents.

Camp residents have been extremely receptive to AWB’s treatment offerings. The healing service work of this team has created strong connections between AWB and the refugees and volunteer relief workers at both camps. The way is now open to send a larger team to both Ritsona and Oinofyta in September- October 2016. Here are some of team leader Amy Schroeder’s descriptions:

Oinofyta Camp, August 16:

We met John and his wife Paulina. They head the medical team with the Seventh Day Adventists at Oinofyta. They are very open to us treating in the camp. They offered a small space, their storage room, where the dentist (that comes periodically) treats people. Lisa and Sarah treated volunteers in there.

While Lisa finished up with volunteers, Sarah taught a yoga class in an 8x10ft room...I think she had 8-10 people inthere! It was quite a sight! The women had hijabs off so no photos were allowed. Later, Lisa and Sarah were in that same small 'yoga' room, now with about 14 women lined up against the walls, with peaceful music playing, a small candle burning in the middle of the room and needles in their ears. Again....quite a sight to walk in to see such a full room of beautiful women that Lisa and Sarah gathered up!  Living conditions for camp residents: There are open rooms that residents can stay in inside the big warehouse but the people (that live) in tents outside prefer to stay in the tents (in view of the highway)because they want the people of Greece to see that they're there. If they all go inside and take down the tents, then no one will see them. Everyone is dehydrated it seems (at both camps). Lots of headaches. Paulina concurred...

Nahid’s husband (who AWB met at the Piraeus makeshift camp in May and is now at Oinofyta camp) slept for ten hours after his treatment today. AWB met Nahid and Ramin at the Piraeus makeshift camp at the Athens post in May 2016.
Their move to the new camp has provided a better living situation and they are with other Afghan families.

Later at Ritsona Camp, August 16:

After the peaceful ear seed treatment in the Women’s Only Space, then Lisa did one Zumba song because they were begging her........again, so many women in a small room. Everyone is just hungry for things to do.


AWB will be sending a fourth team to Ritsona and Oinofyta in September-October 2016, and will be meeting with Greek acupuncturists to connect them with service work at the camps. We are working on long term service provision so that ongoing support can be offered to camp residents. AWB is also developing training for European acupuncturists who want to create trauma healing support projects for refugees in countries such as Germany. Projected training date will be March 2017. Stay tuned for updates!


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