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We simply save lives

Update - September 2000

We simply save lives...

Great news from Kosovo:

As Kosovar refugees started returning to their shattered land in June 99', there was a great fear that many returnees, especially children, would be hurt by land-mines, booby-traps and unexploded ordinance (UXOs); cluster-bomblets, bombs and shells.  It was obvious that mine-clearing efforts will be painfully slow.

One of AWB's first actions was to send volunteers to participate in the Mine Awareness Program, teaching children and the general public of the potential hazardous nature of these silent killers.

While most of the suspected land-mines and UXOs sites are still not cleared, the latest official figures -- published by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) -- show there was a dramatic decline in the numbers of victims from land-mines and UXOs this summer, compared with last, based on data from all around Kosovo province:

June 99' - Injured Total:  102     June 99' - Killed Total:  39
July 99' - Injured Total:  88     July 99' - Killed Total:   21

June 00' - Injured Total:  8     June 00' - Killed Total:  2
July 00' - Injured Total:  5     July 00' - Killed Total:  0

(figures collected by ICRC and officially published by UNMIK, August 8, 2000)

AWB volunteer youth instructors in Kosovo participated (August - November 99') in the training of the first 25 local Mine Awareness trainers from different local and international NGOs, in cooperation with MAG, UNICEF and UNMACC.

AWB volunteers were supported by the Austrian government, through HOPE 87.  Radio communications equipment for the Mine Awareness volunteers was donated by Motorola, Israel.

In late 1999 and into 2000, three former AWB volunteers continued their work in western Kosovo with the new British organization, Mines Awareness Trust (MAT).  One of them, is currently still involved in Mine Awareness activities in Kosovo.

Siyua Le'lo Gvulot, AID WITHOUT BORDERS (AWB), an Israeli voluntary humanitarian organization, based in Jerusalem, wishes to warmly thank every one of the persons involved in this great activity, which resulted in so amazing and dramatic figures of saving lives.

ICRC initiative on cluster bombs global moratorium

AWB strongly supports the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) call for a global moratorium on cluster bombs.  This call is initiated now, after it was proven that the weapon, used by NATO forces in Kosovo, had caused hundreds of casualties throughout the province.

The Geneva-based ICRC called, early September, for a suspension of the use of cluster bombs, until there is an agreement on their use and clearance.  It also demanded a ban against their use in populated areas.

The ICRC urged NATO to take responsibility for the clearance of unexploded bomblets, saying up to 10 percent of 290,000 bomblets dropped by its planes failed to explode.

The ICRC said cluster bombs killed up to 150 civilians during the war and caused 50 deaths and 151 injuries in the 12 months after the conflict ended in June 1999.  By comparison, mines killed 30 people and wounded almost 200 after the war.

Cluster bombs are dropped by aircraft, each weapon containing up to 2,000 submunitions or bomblets which are scattered over a wide area.  Each submunition contains razor-sharp shrapnel and some include flammable material.

Cluster bombs were used in conflicts in Vietnam, the Falklands and the 1991 U.S.-led Gulf war against Iraq.  The United States is also reported to have supplied cluster bombs to Israel during the 22-year-long occupation of south Lebanon which ended in May.   Russia is believed to have similar devices, and Chechen separatist guerrillas have charged Russian forces of using them in recent counter-insurgency campaigns in the Caucasus.

Angola - one year on:

AWB volunteer youth instructors, Rachel Dassa and Yahav Dori, were sent to Angola, mid-June, for a 6 months stay.  They will serve as coordinators for UNICEF Mine Awareness program there.

It is a mission supported by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.  Israel has been contributing young volunteers to this program during the past 4 years.

Dori and Dassa will continue the work of Shahaf Alexsander, who was the first AWB volunteer to be sent on this mission, September 1999.

Plans are being made to enlarge AWB's volunteers and experts' involvement in Angola in other fields, as medical training and public health campaigns in needed communities.

Kosovo - one year on:

Just over a year since the last eruption in the Kosovo crisis, AWB is about to close the Kosova Project, but leaves the door open, for possible sending of volunteers and experts to join other organizations still working in Kosovo, and for possible continuation of a vocational training for youth in Elbasn, Albania.

In early-July, an AWB volunteer psychologist, Dr. Moshe Landsman, was sent for a 2 months volunteering in Kosovo, teaching and training fellow residents at the Pristina Hospital psychiatric department.  He is following, AWB volunteer psychologist, Rakefet Sella, who spent a full month in Kosovo in May.

This mission, the first long-term project AWB was involved with, is being directed by former AWB's psychosocial program advisor, Dr. Mindy Prager, an American psychiatrist working in Kosovo since last summer.

AWB's Kosova Project was supported by TPO (Netherlands), DFID (Britain) and The Rich Foundation (Switzerland).

Following a request by the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Landsman, submitted, by early-September, a draft proposal, 'Building Child Mental Health in Kosova': a basic program, featuring a detailed plan for the training of local professional staff, for enabling them to eventually deliver child and adolescent mental health services throughout the province.

Support for volunteers to St. Lucia:

In August, AWB succeeded in helping, volunteer MD Nimrod Shich, and his partner, social worker and social welfare expert, Rebecca Hod, in their endeavor to try and get to the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia.

They joined the work done by the New York based, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB), at the local St. Jude Hospital, in Vieux Forte, and are planning to stay there for 3 months.

The two volunteers have been donated with about 100Kg of medical supplies by the best of Israel's pharmaceutical companies: TEVA, DAXON, GLAXCO, CHAI, and SAVION and have been helped with transport the medicines by: BRITISH AIRWAYS and FEDEX.

Jubilee 2000 coalition:

During the summer, Siyua Le'lo Gvulot, started collaborating with two of Israel's leading environmental organizations, Peula Yeruka and Megama Yeruka, in creating a first-of-its-kind Israeli coalition, supporting a global struggle to rid developing countries of their enormous debts.

In doing so, we joined Jubilee 2000, an international movement, calling for cancellation of the un-payable debt of the world's poorest countries by the end of the year 2000, under a fair and transparent process.

According to the latest UN estimates, the debts crisis is causing the actual death of about 19,000 children every day.  The poorest countries of the world are overwhelmed with debts they would never be able to pay back, causing as a result, strangled economies, wide spread and deepening poverty, with no chance for any future economical growth.

For more info and action, please visit:

Horn of Africa famine:

AWB continues to closely monitor the drought situation and any developments in the fight to save lives around the Horn of Africa.

Although being cautioned that the situation is being portrayed by the press in much worse terms than it actually is, AWB is deeply concerned by repeated reports of a widespread famine, malnutrition and hunger, in some regions around the Horn of Africa, especially in Ethiopia, Eritrea, southern Sudan and northern Kenya.

The latest UN figures are still showing an estimated 16 million people effected, many of them children, who already show the first signs of sever malnutrition.  There are contradicting reports, though, stating there certainly is a food shortage and pockets of hunger, but nowhere near a famine situation, yet.

By April, AWB called for an immediate involvement and donations from governments, private and public funds, institutions and companies, to help in a long-term joint effort to relive the suffering of the people of these pockets of hunger, especially children, aimed at preventing widespread famine and hunger.

AWB also called for a continuance of international involvement in long-term development programs, aimed at creating alternative permanent food resources to the frequently famine stricken regions in the Horn of Africa.

AWB's calls were partly answered by several professional delegations sent by Israel's Foreign Ministry to report and recommend on long-term plans of possible involvement in the region.  AWB is looking forward to participate in sending volunteers and experts to take part in these ambitious new programs.

Mozambique floods:

After completing 6 month work in Angola, AWB volunteer Field Coordinator, Shahaf Alexsander, started in mid-March a full month mission in flood stricken Mozambique.

Alexsander, was one of 4 members of the JLOC (Joint Logistics Operation Center), which coordinated all the emergency relief flights of all UN agencies and international NGOs, reliving the suffering of the flood victims.  Alexsander, represented UNICEF in the JLOC.

After returning to Israel, early-June, Alexander worked with AWB volunteer medic instructor, Shani Silverman, on a plan for a possible AWB long-term medical relief project in Mozambique.

Unfortunately, we have failed so far in finding partners and support to this possible project.  AWB continues to follow and monitor the progress in the field and we are still looking for a way to send more volunteers and experts to Mozambique.

Huge thank you:

AWB praises the efforts of all volunteers and experts, the cooperation of all organizations and the generous donations of all companies and individuals involved.
 Erez T. Yanuv - Director

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to improve and strengthen our operation in Israel AWB needs more volunteers with specific skills to help in our future office in Jerusalem and from private houses all around the country.

all candidates should be very dedicated, responsible, with at least two free days during the week.  we are looking for people with the following skills:

- management skills and many years of experience
- knowledge in internet programming to activate and update our web-site
- computer experts for solving problems and helping with setting up our network
- good organizing/producing skills, for special events and other special actions
- good logistical/technical/organizing experience
- experience in locating possible new sponsors/fund raising (local and international)

- psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, special education teachers/experts
- logisticians and people with management and technical skills
- agronomists/agriculture experts and water development experts
- experienced neonatal nurses with management skills

 * all AWB experts are expected to have at least few years of experience in their respective fields of expertise
 * all AWB activity involves training and teaching of local people
 * all AWB volunteers are expected to have a very good English skills, writing & speaking
 * all AWB volunteers and experts have to have a basic knowledge in medical first- aid
 * all AWB volunteers and experts are expected to stay for at list one month (4 full weeks)
[ experts and volunteers willing to stay for a longer period, will be preferred ]

NEEDED for AID WITHOUT BORDERS/Israel Foreign Ministry, UNICEF, Angola
- youth guides/leaders with organizing and management experience
- psychologists for assisting land-mine victims
- rehabilitation experts for handicapped persons
- very experienced nurses for teaching local medical personnel

 * all AWB youth guides/leaders are expected to stay in Angola for at list 6 months
 * all AWB activity involves training and teaching of local people
 * all AWB volunteers are expected to have a very good English skills, writing & speaking
 * all AWB volunteers and experts are expected to have a basic knowledge in Portuguese before reaching Angola
 * all AWB volunteers and experts have to have a basic knowledge in medical first-aid
 * all AWB volunteers and experts are expected to stay for at list one month (4 full weeks)
[ experts and volunteers willing to stay for a longer period, will be preferred ]

AWB's activity report in the Balkans 1999