The funds raised in an extraordinary collection were sent to three organisations at the Chios and Lesbos islands, part of the money was sent to Aleppo, Syria. The total sum collected was over 930,000 CZK and will be used to buy food, medication and to provide necessary medical treatment. The money is primarily intended for two Greek organisations – Perichoresis and Chios People Kitchen, and also for the Czech branch of Médecins Sans Frontières. All of these organisations work on the Greek islands, inside the overcrowded refugee camps, and they use the donations to buy and distribute non-perishable food, medication, and to provide the necessary medical aid.
A church-wide collection
The Synodal Council decided to donate 200,000 CZK to the Czech branch of Médecins Sans Frontières already in late 2019, which was also an impulse to call for an extraordinary collection throughout the whole ECCB. Thanks to the generosity and awareness of the ECCB’s church members, another approx. 650,000 CZK was raised in this collection, which is quite a success.
The contacts of the coordinator for work with refugees, Alena Fenrychová, who has been in touch with organisations and churches helping directly in the places of the humanitarian crisis, also helped the efficient distribution of the funds.
Twice a week, the Chios People´s Kitchen organisation distributes long-lasting food to the most needy at the Chios island. “The distribution is complicated, because the coronavirus restrictions are valid here as well. We provide help to 60–70 families per week, we also give fruit to children who are here without their parents. Every day, we receive new requests for support and so far, we are able to help, also thanks to your support, which we are very grateful for,” says Kostas Tainidis, head of the organisation that has been preparing food for refugees since 2015.
The Perichoresis organisation, established by the Greek Protestant church, purchases medication and provides necessary medical treatment for refugees at the Chios island. Its work is important especially in the camps, where the actual number of refugees is more than three times over the capacity limit and there is an absolute lack of basic sanitary equipment. People who are running from a war conflict, including little children, are crammed here in cold, dirty, inhuman conditions.
More support during Easter
The Synodal Council also sent a contribution of 3,000 EUR to the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (GEKE), which decided to provide aid in the same region and asked its member churches participate. The proceeds of the collection organised by the GEKE are now on their way to Lesbos, where they will be used to purchase medical material for the local Vostanio hospital. Part of the funds was also sent directly to the war zone – to Aleppo, Syria – to buy disinfectants and protective equipment for the Bethel hospital, which is run by the Union of Armenian Protestant Churches in Syria.
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren has repeatedly been urging the Czech political representation, the respective ministries as well as the Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, to engage in preventing the escalation of the situation, and to send aid. The horrible situation of the refugees who are stuck at the Greek islands is not only a humanitarian crisis, but also a potential safety threat. Therefore, turning a blind eye to this problem is not a wise political approach in the long run.