Project Stories:

On the run – from war, hunger and educational disadvantages

Donate hope on the World Refugee Day!

by Lisa Wolff,  2019/06/20

"I have no plans for the future. We can not go back to Somalia. There still is Al Shabab." Together with her husband and her eight children Sooman had to flee from the war and the draught in Somalia. Now they are living in a refugee camp in the Ethiopian Melkadida. In 2016 more than 65,5 million people were on the run worldwide according to UNHCR. As many as never before. The reasons, why people leave their homes, are as varied as their destinies. Besides wars, climatic disasters and hunger crises also the lack of prospects bring families to their very limits. For many years now humedica engages in crisis prevention, in the fight against the causes of migration and educational work, always trying to give families like Sooman´s a perspective, hope and the chance for a better future. Our helpers in their red vests are constantly providing humanitarian aid in the conflicts, which take place in Syria, Somalia and the Mediterranean Sea. And still people are in dire need of our help!

"We all have fled separately. Our children ran in one direction, my wife in another and I somewhere else," Ibrahim tells us, who lives in Melkadida like Sooman. Before the humanitarian crises in Somalia the small community had about 1.000 inhabitants. Now about 200.000 people live in the arid border region. A great challenge for all of them. The people are secure here, but still there remain many problems: "My greatest wish is to find a job for me, my husband and my oldest daughter here," confides Amina. She has been living in Melkadida for eight years now. "I had to walk for six days, on foot. I had to leave my mother behind in Somalia," she continues. "Only God knows, what will be, but I would love to see her again."

Flüchtlingscamp Melkadida wo humedica Hilfe leistet

Since 2011 many people are living in refugee camps near the border to Somalia – like here in the Ethiopian Melkadida. Photo: Hartmut Schotte/humedica

Help at the horn of Africa

Basic medical care for Melkadida

In the summer of 2011, the worst draught catastrophe in the history of the horn of Africa caused a dramatic hunger crisis for up to ten million people. In seemingly endless streams hundreds of thousands of refugees fled from the disaster regions in Somalia to Kenia and Ethiopia. They were looking to escape draught, hunger and violence and found a new life in huge refugee camps.

Since the very beginning of the crisis humedica engages on site for the crisis victims. Our help focusses on Melkadida, one of the five biggest refugee camps in the region. To alleviate the medical hardship in the camp, humedica runs a health care station, where local employees treat up to 120 patients each day. In special trainings volunteer doctors school our personnel and teach them to treat patients on their own. At the same time humedica trains refugees to become so-called 'Community Health Workers', who engage actively in health protection and education in their social environment.

humedica-Arzt bei der Behandlung im Flüchtlingslager Melkadida

In the humedica health care station in Melkadida people are treated and advised. Photo: Hartmut Schotte/humedica

We could already hand over to the local health care system one of the mother-child stations, which humedica had established in the Somali-Ethiopian border region. But in Melkadida our help is still urgently needed: humedica is the only partner, who supports the medical aid of the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR. Besides basic medical treatments and the support before, during and after pregnancies our colleagues assist the camp inhabitants with information campaigns on health and hygiene.

"We are doing well here. We are very glad to be here," says Sooman, who visits the health care station regularly with her family. "When I was pregnant, I went to the humedica clinic," we are told by Amina, too. "And today, when one of my children is ill, we get good treatment here."

If you would like to learn more about the facets of our work in Melkadida, we invite you to look up the Video-Blog run by our intervention team member von Hartmut Schotte. He accompanied the humedica team in Melkadida for several weeks and captured his impressions for us!

Syria crisis continues

Mobile clinics and psychological help in the Lebanon

If the humedica flag is raised in one of the many provisory refugee camps in the Bekaa valley, everybody knows that the mobile clinic has arrived! A converted bus is used as mobile medical practice. In two separate treatment rooms two practitioners work simultaneously. In between is a small pharmacy, which keeps important medicaments ready. The humedica team travels on an alternating basis to 30 tent camps in the Lebanon. There they treat about 10.000 people, who had no chance for medical care otherwise.

Menschen im libanesischen Flüchtlingscamp warten auf Behandlung von humedica-Ärzten

For many Syrian refugees and Lebanese the mobile humedica clinic offers the only access to medical treatment. Photo: Christoph Jorda/humedica

Meanwhile every forth inhabitant of the Lebanon has fled from Syria. The small country has accommodated approximately two million Syrians. Most of them are not registered, which additionally complicates their access to health care services.

"Every day we pack the equipment for our mobile clinic and go to one of the camps," reports Mohammed. He works for humedica as physician and takes care of the many patients together with his colleagues. "Most of them come to us because of respiratory or skin diseases," continues Mohammed. Women are advised and treated before, during and after pregnancies. Time and again severe ailments are detected. If our humedica physicians are not able to treat them appropriately, they transfer the patients to bigger hospitals.

humedica-Ärztin bei der Behandlung im Libanon

In most of the cases humedica physicians carry out basic medical treatment. Rarely patients with severe diseases have to be transferred to bigger hospitals. Photo: Christoph Jorda/humedica

Our humedica team in the Lebanon does not only provide medical treatment but takes care of the mental health of the refugees, too. Often, they have lived through frightful situations in the civic war and during their flight. In order to assist them to deal with their worries and fears and to react in time to cases of severe trauma, humedica employee Marie regularly visits the families at home. In group sessions the psychosocial worker discusses important issues with children, women and men. She trains them how to watch out not only for physical, but also for mental health.

On our last visit Marie took us to visit Nahda. "Nahda has lost her entire family and came to the Lebanon all by herself," Marie tells us. The two women meet regularly to talk about Nahda´s situation. "When we met each other for the first time, Nahda was not able to sleep. She suffered from depression and was rather reserved," Marie continues. Marie had her transferred to a psychotherapist. "Today Nahda is much better. It is heartwarming to see that she becomes more open and confident by the day."

Flight to Europe

A new life in Sicily

"If it rains tomorrow, I will sell umbrellas," Mustafa says while having dinner with humedica employee Lisa Wolff. Three years ago, he came from Morocco to Sicily. Today also his wife and their two children are living with him in Piedimonte Etneo. Mustafa earns their living by running a small sales booth.

They are supported by the humedica partner organisation GiM (Gioventú in Missione). "Our support started as mobile help. Many refugees lived on the street or under bridges, even in winter. We distributed clothes, blankets, shoes and food," reports the head of GiM Enos Nolli. GiM also cares for needy Italians. "In Sicily the number of unemployed people is generally rather high," Enos continues. Both locals and refugees face the same problems.

Even so at the moment less new refugees arrive in Europe, the situation remains strained and insecure for the people, who have managed the dangerous way over the Mediterranean Sea. Many of them had lived and worked in North Africa before. But when the political situation over there had changed, they continued their way to Europe. Since several years humedica supports two projects in Sicily, who help refugees to rebuild their lives by offering them new prospects.

Schüler im humedica-Projekt auf Sizilien

The many activities of the two humedica partner organisations GiM and Missione Tre V onlus in Siciliy give people new hope for their restart in Europe. Photo: humedica

The 'Open House' run by the humedica partner Missione Tre V onlus is an open contact point for refugees in the Sicilian city of Ragusa: an international community of volunteers here offers Italian and English courses as well as sewing and computer workshops. And appreciation, an open ear and an environment, where everybody can feel right at home and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in pleasant company.

"The 'Open House' has given me back my dignity and my independence,“ tells us Ferial. At home in the Lebanon, she had managed a successful atelier. Together with her employees she had produced clothes for numerous well-known clients in the Arabian world. After her flight she herself found support in the 'Open House'. Today she is part of the team. Ferial now passes on, what she has experienced herself, to the people, who come here for help and stability.

Our plea on the occasion of the World Refugee Day

Donate hope, health and perspective

Together we have already improved a lot. Together we were able to help many people in need, to reach out to them and to assist them on their way. Together we would like to carry on giving hope. Please continue to support our humanitarian work.

This article was already published as a humedica info letter. If you would like to receive information about our projects on a regular basis, please subscribe to our monthly newsletter here!

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