Avicenna was founded with the original intention of helping people and organizations in countries where help is needed. Due to the growing destruction and oppression of many countries and the increasing number of people who are forced to flee their native countries, Avicenna has adapted its original goals to now primarily support refugees „on the road“ to Europe. A special focus lies on people who stay in inofficial camps near their homeland, in order to return home at some point or keep staying in their homeland in difficult conditions.
We invite everyone willing to help people in need to support us in person or with a monetary donation.
Our Facebook Site is permanently updated with new information, reports and fotos.
We are a small group of doctors and other NGO’s supporting refugees during their stay outside their native countries. We have helped in Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Irak, Lebanon and the refugees from Myan Mar in Bangla Desh. We provide for medical aid and – with the help of our international and local friends and helpers – for general supplies that are vital and bring relief as well as for education. In particular, we support the self-organization of those who are placed under disability to facilitate a life in dignity.
How it started
In fall 2015, we intended to spend our vacation in Crete/Greece. However, we then received a text message from a family member, who was engaged by German news magazine „Der Spiegel“ to write a reportage while travelling the Balkan-route. He informed us about the wretched situation he encountered in Lesbos, asking us whether we’d be willing to help. Barely having arrived in Crete, we found ourselves on the next machine headed for Lesbos.
Since that moment, we are people on the road – looking for people on the road. We’ve met people who have lost their home and who are hoping for a safe, humane and – most of all – fair future. We have met people, who find joy and fulfillment by helping others. These ongoing encounters are changing our lives and have not lost their grip on us ever since!
TV report about our work in Lesbos
In the black of night, a rubber dinghy is attempting to land on a rocky coast in Lesbos. Shrieks of children are echoing through the darkness, while the boat is in permanent danger of capsizing. Intended for 30 people only, more than 60 are now huddled together on board…
These are scenes which are hard to forget! The people who have fled from war and terror have survived the dangerous passage from Turkey to Greece. They are soaking wet, yet lucky since tonight, helpers are present. Amongst them are the German-Iranian couple Bita and Khalil Kermani, two doctors from Cologne. They are expecting boats to land, helping people to disembark and onto the safe shore.
Çeşme: 2015 and beginning of 2016 in the Çeşme area, refugees had sometimes to wait 10-20 days, depending on the weather and/or controls by the Turkish coastal guard, in order to cross over to the Greek island of Chios. It’s a passage of only 8km, yet oftentimes deadly due to crowded rubber dinghys. Until August 2015, people were split into groups/families after a 4-hour march from the bus-stop and then crammed into filthy construction-abandoned buildings: a smugglers “camp” more like a dumping ground, located right across the shore of Chios.
Starting off in December 2015, we were the first doctors to undertake the medical support of – at times – thousands of refugees, primarily stemming from Afghanistan. Furthermore, we also tried to make their accomodation more „humane“ (for example by providing matresses).
In January 2016, the area was emptied and sealed by the police. Afterwards people were waiting for their passage in boarding houses. Oftentimes, 10-12 people had to share a regular double room. The locals, in particular Ali and his group İmece, provided them on a daily basis with food and clothing.
Later some of those boarding houses were also cleared by the police. Hence, many were forced to sleep outdoors, exposed without protection to the cold. We met many children suffering from highly feverish infections, crouched on park benches.
We were much aided by the circumstance that our native language Farsi is very similar to Afghan, thus enabling us to communicate. It is of great importance to those people to talk – to let someone know about their worries and despair! Even if they should manage to put these exertions behind one day, by surviving the passage (which most of them have attempted several times, already), by getting as far as the Macedonian border – what might be expecting them there, that’s worth hoping for?
Since the border between Greece and Macedonia has been closed and the fugitives, who succeed to cross the sea to Greece, are kept on the islands, only few fugitives can be seen in Cesme. Nobody knows where the approximately 400 people each week depart for Chios.
Ali and his team go on helping the remaining syrian families around Torbali/Izmir.
Izmir and Torbali : In Izmir and the surrounding at the end of 2016 there live about 90.000 refugees. In the western Turkey there are no official camps. Those are in eastern Turkey. There people get help by the government, like food and education for the children. But these camps are completely full . From the 3,5 Million Syrian refugees 90 present have see, how they get along by themselves. In Izmir we work together with a Turkish NGO (Tiafi) and finance a physiotherapist , help families without parents, who can work etc. and in 2019 bought together with a german NGO(Musketiere) a van for the transportation of the children to the Kindergarden and the physiotherapist, buying food for the 100 daily cooked dishes, transportation of ill people to hospital etc.
Approximately 50 km south of Izmir lies the small town of Torbali. In the near vicinity, approx. 8.000 Syrian refugees are living in inofficial camps under most simple conditions. Nearly none of those camps have sanitary installations – neither baths nor toilets. The people work on the fields, when there is work. Those, who have a official registration, theoretically can get medical help or their children can visit Turkish schools. But for going to a doctor they need to pay a days income for a translator and for going to school, the children have to know turkish. With the help of our friends there we provide medical help and support people there with food etc. In urgent cases arrangements are made for free treatments at the hospital. Christmas 2016 we started an education project, hired Syrian teachers, bought school tents and school material and support since then the growing project. Unfortunately the parents send their children during the season on the fields so we can only offer an evening school in this time. But our school is growing. In winter 2018/2019 we have often 90 pupils in one class and give several shifts during the day. Every family wants to send their children in our class and newcomers try to settle down near our school, so that their children can profit from our school too. Meanwhile all the children have learnt to read and write arabic and are quite good in maths.
Eastturkey: One hour from Adana, three hours from the syrian border at the end of 2016 their also live many thousand syrian people in about 25 camps, also without any toilets or baths or sufficient electricity. We worked there until spring 2017 all four to six weeks as doctors. Also here we started at the end of 2016 an education project, hired two Syrian teachers and bought two school tents for the bigger camps. In Reyhanye at the Syrian border there are several houses in which handycapped of the war are taken care. We could help with medical work, medicine, wheel chairs and food. Further north at the Syrian border we finance a midwife, who takes care of pregnant and other women in need.
After the closing of the border spring 2016, 27’000 people – amongst which many women and children – were held up under degrading conditions in the north of Greece.
Idomeni: In Idomeni, at the greece border to Macedonia, where between ten and twenty thousand people waited in vain for the passage to the rest of europe. We helped with medical support, food etc..
Thessaloniki: 11’000 were placed in military camps around Thessaloniki after the evacuation of the Idomeni frontier camp in June. Refugees were literally left to sustain themselves there, provided with some nourishment by the greek army. Without the help of the many, mostly young helpers from all over the world the situation in those camps would be catastrophic. NGOs (non governmental organizations) provided for doctors and a somewhat more humane infrastructure through their relentless support, made possible by donation funds. Tents were provided by UNHCR etc.
However, people were pent up together in tight space, exposed to great heat in summer and to the cold of winter. Vegetables or fruit are seldom. A typical breakfast consisted of one single industry made croissant, lunch of a dry sandwhich and one falafel, dinner might consist of a bowl of potatos, or just some plain rice. Most people suffered from lack of vitamines – especially children and pregnant women , unable to prepare dishes on their own and restricted by all other means.
What was worst for most people was to be condemmned to inactivity – bereft of hope that the situation will turn for the better. Such breeding ground leads to desperation, depression and also aggression. In 2017 most of the camps were closed and people had to try and find themselves a shelter or got some place in old houses etc. At the end of 2018 some camps were reopened and we were there to help as doctors and with the distribution of food.
Athens: Here live about 1000 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, middle east and Africa in empty houses, the so-called squads. We are there every few weeks to support them with needed goods, like stoves, refrigerators, ovens, mattresses, food, clothings, medical support etc. . At the end of 2018 we started our help for am agriculture autonomy project. On a piece of land outside Athens the refugees can grow their own food, have their own cow and hopefully soon other animals and can sell cheese and agriculture products on the market in Athens. We are planing to buy a transporter and hire a house nearby for family to live there.
Lesbos: During the short opening of borders from Turkey many thousands came to the islands.
Our Syrian friend Rafat writes in Oktober 2019 about the situation in Greece:
„I have been hitting friends for donations for the past four years – and I’m doing it again now – but this situation really is an emergency.
We’ve had over 20,000 refugees come since August, living on the street, others are coming to islands in the middle of nowhere just villages with no help, others are getting transferred to old military camps in the middle of the mountains, a baby was burned to death and another run over while a bunch have drowned….
People coming from Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Congo…. And it’s starting to get really cold. Some of these people don’t even have shoes or a tent to sleep in.
Like it’s bad… Really really bad.
Neda and I have the goal of going on an aid distribution mission where we just pack the car with aid and drive out to the worst places that need help…
So we DESPERATELY need to raise funds.
If you can give anything it would be awesome. If you can personally ask a few of the friends to do the same… I couldn’t begin to describe how grateful we would be.
You’d be surprised how far even the smallest amount of help (both by donating and advertising) can be.
Please help if you can.“
Meanwhile Rafat and his wife Neda have got notice from a new military camp west from Athens, where about 400 people from Lesbos and Chios and 200 from the squads in Athens have been brought and where there is no help from other NGO`s. The situation there is so bad, that we decide to change our plans and send our van with clothings from Cologne there and also go there to work as doctors and do whatever is needed and possible. We will report soon for you. Thank you so much for your help, which makes our work possible.
Korinths Camp: In Oktober we started to work as doctors in a new Camp close to Korinth, about one hoer west from Athens. There are about 700 people here from the islands and there are getting more every day. As it is a new camp, there is not much help from NGO`s, the food situation is bad and there is no warm water. We treated more than 300 people, mostly women and children and are planing to improve the situation in the future.
For the situation in Lesvos see our text below.
Other countries 2016-2019
In Bangla Desh we have build shelters for the Rohinjas.
In Calais we help with supplies like clothing and tents etc.
In Iran we support schools, children without parents and poor minorities.
In Lebanon we worked as doctors, bought a school bus for the Salam NGO group and financed a music teacher.
In Jordania we supplied food etc. for Syrian refugees, living outside the official camps and built sanitary objects.
In Serbia we helped with food and other supplies.
For more details see on the bolts and on facebook, unfortunately up to now mostly in german.
Rohingyas in Bangladesh
Still there are more than one million Rohyngyas living in the Camp around Cox Bazar.
The camp situation getting worse day by day. There’s no sign of any kind of opportunity to send them back to Myanmar. It will take at least 2-3 years more. The government is trying to put a fence around the camp, so that people can’t spread out all over the country. Also they put more and more restrictions for the NGO’s. Already there are a lot of restrictions about food and about water pumps. FD7 is closing, with whom a NGO can bring money from outside. Education and sanitary facilities are to poor to live with. They are living such a miserable life. As a reaction violance is encreasing. Although they try to prevent smaller NGO‘s from entering the camp, we could continue our food serving program.
Lesvos in winter
The situation in moria is always worst in winter. But this winter it is worse than ever, because of the increase of the population in and outside the camp. Originally planned for two thousand people , there now stay about 16.000 people, of which about 4.000 children. Half of them stay in the camp. the other outside in the forests. They live in tents, between 2 and 50 people in each. Some tents are dry and have safe electricity, which can be used also for heaters, but many, specially outside the camp, in the forests, don’t give shelter against rain and coldness and often four people sleep in a two persons tent. For food the people have to stand many hours every day in lines. The distribution of clothings and blancets is difficult, although the biggest NGO distribution center Attica has enough clothings for this month and right now the government sent 15.000 blancets. Unsupportable is the hygienic situation. The toilets are so dirty, that most the women have local infections and the violence in their he camp is so brutal, that at night they don’t dare to go to toilets, what causes other bladder deseases. In cooperation with the NGO „movement on the ground“ we try to help with material help and as a psychological and social help also with a community center. We are also planning to buy a bus for a children’s school and women care. We are also planing to send another van with clothings to Attica in january.
Flood disaster in Iran
After years of drought, large parts of Iran, a total of 23 out of 31 provinces, both in the north and in the south, were hit by heavy storms and heavy rains. Several cities and more than 180 villages were evicted. Almost half a million people live in shelters. The resulting property damage is estimated to be over one billion euros. Due to the economic embargo and the resulting economic crisis, support from both home and abroad is made considerably more difficult. Avicenna has sent volunteers to the crisis areas for whose work we urgently need your financial support. Many families have lost everything. We buy carpets, blankets, clothes, mattresses, refrigerators etc. directly in Khuzestan Province, in the southwest Iran, and donations are used 1 to 1 directly without deductions.
Donations are used solely for the relief projects specified on this website.
Avicenna Kultur- und Hilfswerk e.V.
Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärztebank – apoBank
IBAN: DE 55 3006 0601 0005 0195 00
Keyword: refugee relief
Please indicate your adress on the transfer form if you wish to receive a receipt for your donation.
Our goals in Westturkey are:
1. The improvement of the living situation. Currently, thousands of people live in tents without toilets or bathrooms. According to the seasons children elder than five years and their parents work in the fields. But out of season there is a big need of food, clothes and tents etc .
2. Medical help: Although many have an official registration as refugees and therefore the possibility to visit a doctor, there is always a need for medical help as nobody speaks turkish and they have no money for a translator or the transportation to a hospital..
3. Education: we support Syrian teachers and finance school tents and school material for teaching the children.
4. Support of lokal NGO`s like Tiafi in Izmir and autonomy projects.
Our goals in Lebanon are:
We support the NGO group Salam by financing a schools, that drives from camp to camp to educate children as well a music teacher, who sings together with Syrian children.
Our goals in Greek are:
We help the people in the squads in Athens and Support an agriculture autonomy project in the surrounding of Athens. In Lesbos we support the work of Rafat and his wife and friends.
Our goals in Iran are:
We help existing NGO`s and other organizations, who try to improve the situations of children on the country side and poor minorities, also with the aim to prevent them to become refugees. We help a small school for handicapped children in the desert one hour from Isfahan. And on every journey we help the poorest people with food and medical work, wherever we can.