The bus-based ministry, Adventist Help, will be responsible for all medical care at the Oinofyta camp, which will host up to 2,000 refugees.
April 12, 2016
Victor Hulbert, tedNEWS
Adventist Help receives keys to the Oinofyta camp in Greece. [Photo courtesy of tedNews]
A memorandum of understanding between the Greek Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ASI Europe means that Adventist Help, a bus-based medical clinic, is once again ready to help refugees.
Last year around 100 medical and non-medical volunteers assisted on the Greek island of Lesbos, providing immediate practical help to some of the more than 500,000 people who made the treacherous trip across the Aegean Sea from Turkey. In phase 2, the bus has moved to a new refugee camp located one hour north of Athens. Adventist Help will be responsible for all medical services in the Oinofyta camp.
"This is a brand new camp set up on the premises of an abandoned factory, designed to host tents for 2,000 refugees," states Michael-John Von Hörsten, a medical doctor who was very active during phase 1 of the project. He has been connecting with other volunteers, the charity, ‘Do Your Part’, and the Greek government.
The memorandum, signed by Mission president, Claudio Gulyas and ASI Vice-president, Claus Nybo, on Thursday, 7 April 2016 means that the Greek Airforce who run the camp have now given ASI a key for the camp gate and main building.
Swiss national, Markus Alt will act as a Project Coordinator for Phase 2 of the Adventist Help project and is already onsite. He is excited that they will have access not just to the bus, but also a nearby medical facility that has space for 38 doctors though currently the Greek state can only pay for three, and one of them is a dentist. "There is a full-size lab, an x-ray department, eye, ear, heart, dental, gynecology and many more services there, ready to use," Alt states. His great need is volunteer helpers as refugees start to arrive in the next few days.
One of the hallmarks of Adventist Help, according to Nybo, is the identity of the project´s core group, "Adventists who keep their corporate and individual identity while mingling with other volunteers, the local community and displaced persons as ones who desire their good, meeting their needs, embracing and sharing God´s love in practical tangible ways, through genuine, self-sacrificing friendship as well as high quality health services and other acts of genuine care."
In this new phase they hope to add health awareness programmes, an area that may involve local Adventist church members. The Greek mission is committed to encourage local volunteers to participate in project activities such as medical care, nursing and food distribution, as well as overseeing any hiring of local staff.
While the program will be under constant review, the MOU runs until the end of 2016 and they will be renewed on an annual basis.
The choice to move from the coast to a new refugee camp comes in the wake of the recent agreement between the Turkish government and the European Union leading to a decrease in the number of refugees arriving in boats, balanced with the closing of the Balkan route leaving many refugees stuck in Greece.
If you would like to volunteer of help Adventist Help then please contact them via their website:http://adventisthelp.org/contact/. [tedNEWS]