By Singapore Relief Team (Originally in English)
In response to Master’s deep concern for the refugees and Her loving instruction to assist where possible, our Association members from Singapore formed a relief team and traveled to Europe during December 2015. Our Singapore relief teams, also joined by our United States relief team, have provided aid to refugees in Serbia, Macedonia and Greece. Relief work has been funded by our Association member’s contribution of EUR 23,787 thus far, with reimbursement available from Master’s fund.
Bringing Vegan Food and Supplies to Refugees in Serbia and Macedonia – December 7 to 10, 2015
On the evening of December 6, our Singapore relief team arrived in Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade. The following morning on December 7, we brought vegan food and clothing to Miksaliste, the organization Refugee Aid Serbia‘s distribution center in Belgrade. The volunteers were very happy for the extra gifts and started distributing them immediately to the newly arrived refugees. We also purchased dried breads and rice cakes upon request. To thank the volunteers, we gave them a gift box of potato chips, cookies and tea.
The next day, December 8, we drove five hours to a refugee camp in an open park in Preševo, where volunteers from the Center of Solidarity and Advancement (CSA) were distributing warm clothing and food to refugees arriving by foot. After meeting up with Mr. Xhelal Hasani, the Administrative Manager at CSA, a civic organization headquartered in Macedonia, we purchased biscuits and rice cakes for distribution.
During the following two days, we went to Tabanovce camp in Macedonia by the border of Serbia. As recommended by Mr. Mausur Idrizi, a representative from the Macedonia-based NGO Eurohuman Shkup (Skopje), we purchased much-needed warm clothing such as jackets, gloves and scarves from the capital city, Skopje. These were distributed to the arriving refugees who have to travel about four kilometers by foot to the next camp in Preševo, Serbia.
Providing Cold Weather Supplies on Leros island, Greece – December 11 to 17, 2015
Our team traveled to Chios island in Greece to see if we could provide any assistance. We visited four different camps on the island on December 13, and found there were not many refugees there and things were calm. Therefore, we decided to return to Athens. Taking the ferry on the way back, we were pleased to observe that each of the refugees were well taken care of, being provided with enough clothing, blankets and necessities thanks to the hard-working NGOs, volunteers and citizens giving care and love.
Upon arriving in Athens the next day, we heard much help was needed on the Greek island, Leros. Some of our relief team went first to assess the situation, and the rest stayed behind to prepare the needed supplies. Arriving at Leros island on December 15, we spoke to volunteers from United Aid Solidarity (AidLeros), UNHCR – United Nations Refugee Agency and Leros Solidarity Network and found out a list of needed supplies which included shoes, socks, jackets, gloves and hats. Thus accordingly, the rest of our team in Athens prepared the items for shipment within two days, thanks to the tremendous help from Monica and Mark from Ya Li Import & Export.
On December 17, our team in Athens traveled to Leros Island to join in the distribution. All the items safely arrived at the storage warehouse of the NGO Leros Solidarity Network. The main coordinator for the NGO’s distributions, with whom we spoke with earlier, Ms. Hanna Kontou, was very touched and in tears with much appreciation.
Expenditures by The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association for Refugee Relief Work in Serbia, Macedonia and Greece
|Clothing (shoes, pants, socks) and food (biscuits, rice cakes and dried breads) for refugees at the Refugee Aid Serbia distribution center in Belgrade, Serbia||4,074||A|
|Food (rice cakes and biscuits) for refugees at Preševo camp, Serbia||1,808||B|
|Clothing (jackets, hats, scarves, socks and undergarments) for refugees at Tabanovce camp, Macedonia||7,400||C|
|Food (fruits and vegan snacks) and clothing for the refugees in Šid, Serbia and supplies (socks, hats, gloves, scarves, shoes and jackets) for the refugees in Leros, Greece||10,505||D|