Our Inspiring Story Haarlem, 01-12-2018
The idea for an Aid Caravan to Greece began with a simple Facebook post on 29 August 2015. Within just a month of that date, the organisation, Aid Caravan Foundation, was set up in Haarlem on Wednesday 30 September 2015 and the amount of supplies we were so overwhelming that we had to temporarily suspend collections so that we could concentrate on actually organising the transportation of the goods to where they were most needed. In the space of those first 32 days, 400 volunteers joined Aid Caravan to Greece and we set up collection, sorting and storage points at 70 locations in the Netherlands (and Belgium) and accumulated around 1,500 cubic meters of goods. This included all manner of clothes, 2000 full toiletry bags, and backpacks that were filled with toys by primary school students and their parents at various locations in the Netherlands. All this was destined for our partners in Greece with whom we closely collaborate: local volunteering initiatives in Kilkis, Kos, Lesbos, Leros, Chios, Piraeus and Athens. We did not only offer them our goods but also helped in whatever other ways we could, and that local volunteers could spend their time in the most productive way possible. One of the reasons we decided to co-operate with Greek volunteering organisations was to also help ease the burden on the Greeks who are facing this crisis. In this way, we maximise the positive impact we have on all those in the regions that are affected. Our organisation mutually benefits from this co-operation as our aid supplies reach refugees faster and more efficiently because Greek volunteering organisations have better access to local infrastructure.
To date, over 10,000people have donated goods and money and all of us at the organisation are touched by such generosity. What started as a personal project by initiator Erika Mauritz has grown into a foundation that has been able to work in a fast, flexible and efficient way because of its connections with Greek volunteer groups that have been helping refugees
Our latest mission
Aid Caravan to Greece volunteers will spend Christmas 2018 with local volunteers and refugees in Greece. As always we will distribute fruits and vegetables, which have become luxury products in this ongoing crisis. A crisis made worse by the hopelessness that refugees feel by not seeing any change in their circumstances in the near future. We heard that things are so bad now, that some children have made attempts to kill themselves. While we wait for political action in this matter, people are dying of cold and sickness caused by the dreadful conditions they find themselves in.
Enough is Enough. We are going again, will you help us?
• We need donations to buy food in Greece and to pay to transport the warm coats, shoes, medicine and all the other goods we have collected and still more volunteers are needed too.
It is possible to donate money all winter long to provide refugees with food and clothing. People who cannot volunteer but want to help can do so by making a donation on behalf of the Aid Caravan foundation. We are ANBI-organisation, therefore any donation is tax deductible. All the money raised will be used locally to buy basic goods for the refugees, and to cover the costs of transportation and organisation. Unlike other organisations, nobody in our foundation gets paid a salary–only basic expenses are covered–so this means that more of the money raised (95%) goes directly to achieving our goals in Greece.
Account name: Stichting Hulpkaravaan – Country: The Netherlands
IBAN: NL82TRIO0391079379 BIC: TRIONL2U
Bitcoin donations are possible on our crowd fund page.
I would personally like to wish everyone a joyful Christmas with family and friends that involves connection sharing and love. My special wish for humanity is the hope that when we come together at Christmas, we remember how privileged we are to simply live in a safe place and have what we need and spare a thought for those who are not so lucky. I think it is also important, especially at this time of year, for those of us that have the available time and means, to demonstrate our love and compassion for those in need by doing whatever we can to help. After all, everyone else is our brother and sister in the big family we call humanity.
Initiator, Aid Caravan to Greece – Chairman, Aid Caravan Foundation
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 email@example.com. We will then contact you as soon as possible.
Aid caravan to Greek