I first became involved in the refugee crisis in September 2015, when refugees arrived in Hamburg at a facility near to my work. Nearly everyday I would go to help with packing supplies and with transport logistics.
In April 2016 I read that a NGO in Hamburg was looking for a driver to go from Hamburg to Thessaloniki with medical supplies, clothes and other essentials, so I put up my hand! I was the driver, along with another volunteer. Once we arrived and dropped off the supplies, I started working alongside a German doctor, as his assistant in Idomeni, organising supplies for the patients. It was whilst working here that the need for primary medical care became so apparent to me but nobody was offering it. So I started developing what was very soon to become Medical Volunteers.
Back in Hamburg, I found some others and we bought a yellow ambulance, started up a Facebook page and soon started to receive donations and volunteers.
In July 2016, another volunteer, Andreas, and I drove the yellow ambulance loaded with medical supplies to Thessaloniki. A few weeks later that the first volunteers started arriving! It wasn’t long before we were offering treatment to up to 250 refugees per day on the side of the road. We started offering our services at the Vagiochori camp too.
One year later, we have grown further and work in three locations in Greece – Athens, Thessaloniki and Lesvos. Now we not only offer medical care in the camps, but also in clinics, squat houses and even car parks!
Going to watch the soccer is my last hobby that has survived Medical Volunteers International!