How The Aid Caravan to Greece started
At the end of August 2015, Erika Mauritz made an appeal on Facebook, asking for people to help her collect goods for refugees in Greece. The response was simply overwhelming. Throughout the entire country people answered the initiative, which got noticed by local media while at the same time lots of people shared it on social media. Thousands of people in The Netherlands and Belgium donated necessary goods and hundreds of volunteers joined the Aid Caravan. In this way they were able to turn their feelings of powerlessness into charitable deeds, because “Ordinary people just help.”
Since that first appeal The Aid Caravan to Greece has collected about 1500 m3 of aid supplies. Thousands of people supplied seventy locations throughout The Netherlands and Belgium with goods such as men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, toys, tents, sleeping bags, bed linens, hygiene products, medicines, baby carriers, strollers, diapers and dry foods. Sponsors and national transport companies have helped to collect the goods and bring them to our central storage in Bleiswijk. Here a great team of volunteers carefully sorts and prepares the goods for transport to Greece. We are proud that the first transports with aid supplies have arrived and have been distributed to those in need.
Collaboration and social durability
In Greece we closely co-operate with local volunteering initiatives in Kilkis, Kos, Lesbos, Leros, Chios, Piraeus and Athens. We do not only offer them our goods, but also help them in receiving and redistributing our goods in the best possible way. In this way, we try to make sure that local volunteers do not lose precious time with sorting the goods once received. For example, in October a team of the Aid Caravan to Greece undertook an expedition to Kilkis in order to improve the local storage and distribution facilities, in full co-operation with local Greek volunteers. We also work together with Solidarity Piraeus, a Greek volunteering organisation that welcomes and receives refugees in the port of Athens and sends goods to the islands.
We decided to co-operate with Greek volunteering organisations to help the Greeks face this crisis. In this way we create social durability in the regions that are affected. Our organisation mutually benefits from this co-operation as our aid supplies reach refugees faster and more efficient because Greek volunteering organisations have better access to local infrastructure. That’s also why we can uses the basketball stadion at the old Olympic side for distributionpunt, from where we and the volunteers of Greece distribute all aid goods inside Greece.
Transport and sponsorships
We transport goods across land and sea. We have learned that demands can differ locally and weekly. For this reason, we send our containers one at a time after consulting local organisations about their specific needs. We take the demand and storage capacity of our Greek partners into account as good as we can.
Until now, many enthusiastic volunteers, donors and benefactors have pushed The Aid Caravan to Greece forward to the point where it stands now. However, we are still looking for sponsors who can make a difference and can turn this extraordinary logistical challenge into a success.
To give an impression of the expenses: the shipment of a sea container including companion costs 1600 euros, 2800 euros if we sent two. A sea container holds either 21, depending on its size. One pallet costs about 75 euros on average. A pallet contains approximately twenty to thirty boxes. In other words, the price of the shipment of one box is about 3 to 4 euros.
We have estimated that we will ship about fifteen loads, half of the containers costs have been sponsored by our logistic partners. The containers will be send weekly, or two every two weeks. We are still looking for funding of five shipments for all winter supply this month, food date will be expired and winterclothes are now most needed goods. Only this month, Januari, there arrived about 62.000 refugees at Greece soil, many of them are children. We are also looking for donations with which we can buy and supply water and food locally. Finally, donations will help us setting up and improving local distribution structures. We are thankfull for each donation.
Our Foundation enjoys a so-called ANBI-status, this means that you have the opportunity of a fiscal discount. We can also offer our donors exposure: please contact us if you wish so. For more information about our initiative, please visit our website www.hulpkaravaangriekenland.nl or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then contact you as soon as possible.
Aid caravan to Greek