(Photo: Deutsches Rotes Kreuz)
As a humanitarian organisation the German Red Cross (DRK) “seeks to ensure life, health, well-being, protection, peaceful cohabitation and dignity for all human beings […] irrespective of political, racial, religious or ideological controversy”. It is globally active, for example in the provision of first response assistance to refugees. In Germany alone it jointly caters to almost 500 reception centres with more than 160.000 places and a project volume of €20m. The DRK’s General Secretariat provides two reception centres – so called “waiting rooms” – in Feldkirchen (4100 places) and Erding (5000 places) close to Munich. After their arrival in Bavaria, refugees are able to stay here in heated airplane hangars and tents and are catered to by the DRK. In the meantime, they are registered by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) before being distributed to the Bundesländer.
Abroad, the German Red Cross also assists refugees. For five years now its largest humanitarian operation has been taking place in Syria. Additionally, it is active in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, as well as Darfur (Sudan), Yemen, Colombia and Uganda.
The German Red Cross’ work in Greece
Along the Western Balkan Route the DRK’s sister organisations assist refugees. In Greece, however, the German chapter is deployed to support its Greek counterpart. Over the last months the DRK distributed 19.000 hygiene kits, coats, backpacks and care packages for babies. Furthermore, since 22 March a mobile health facility of the DRK with seven employees, six tons of supplies and two minibuses is stationed in Nea Kavala and Cherso (about 25km from the camp in Idomeni). This station provides healthcare for up to 10.000 people and is already fully functioning, as the featured image shows.
During a phone call earlier this week with Agnieszka Kurek, member of the DRK’s General Secretariat in Berlin, I was offered to pass by the health facility once I reach Idomeni in early May. This is the perfect opportunity to show you what your donations can do and which objectives they help achieving.
As mentioned in the introduction to this blog, I would like to call for donations for the DRK’s refugee assistance. Those can be made in a highly reliable, uncomplicated and output-oriented manner through a website called betterplace.org where the German Red Cross’ refugee assistance is presented.
Donating via betterplace.org
Betterplace is Germany’s largest charity online platform. You can choose from thousands of social projects that are individually showcased. Each project publishes its “Needs”, thereby clarifying the precise action/equipment etc. as well as the exact amount of money that is required and how much of that is still missing. This allows donors to immediately see and follow the effect of their donations, to get in touch with the project’s initiators, and to rate the project. Betterplace guarantees that 100% of the amount donated reaches the project and that no fees are applied.
The DRK’s refugee first response assistance requires financing first reception supplies from food and sleeping bags to hygiene kits. The donor can choose whether to give to the entire project or to a specific “Need”. The donations are tax deductible in Germany. So far 185 people have donated money to the project covering 44% of its total expenses. Through this blog I hope to motivate many of you to also contribute.