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We simply save lives


Jerusalem, January 2000

AWB  -  in the Balkans 1999


dear volunteers, supporters, donors and friends of AID WITHOUT BORDERS,

first, i would like to apologize to each and every one of you for the long delay in responding to your calls, messages, questions and suggestions.

the information you are about to read in the next few pages, is a summary of our most active venture so far, to the Balkans, responding to the Kosovo crisis.

AID WITHOUT BORDERS (AWB) is one of the few small international organizations that are still active in Kosovo, 9 months after the crisis erupted, in spite of the harsh winter.

all our activities so far, were done with no proper computer network nor telecommunication network, with little experience, and with no office or even basic equipment to support such an effort.

all this, was done with very few volunteers, that managed to bare my humble and inexperienced direction and with a lot of hope, that we can make a difference.  even if small, at this stage.

by now, we are sure that the way is paved to try and continue with even greater activity, in more countries around the world, in the near future.  but, we still ask for your patience, as the amount of people calling and writing will always be much more then we can reply.

our organization is only one-and-a-half years old, making its only first steps, and looking forward to grow, expand, learn and make you all proud being a part of it.

we wish you all a great new year, and many dreams to achieve in the new millennium.

erez t. yanuv & AWB executive committee

personal note:  this year was a very special for me.  not only that the dream came true, i have become a new father to noam.  me, and idit, my partner in life, wish to thank everyone involved for your patience, encouragement and good deeds throughout this very unusual year.  we have carried all of you, in our hearts and minds, even in the hardest moments and toughest times, and many of you helped us cope, without even knowing you did.  we really wish we could have thank you in person.  each and everyone of you.

toda raba raba.  erez


in the next few pages you will find a summary of our major activities so far:

page 2 -                       needed in AWB, Jerusalem & needed for Kosovo
page 3 -                                                         needed for Angola / general
page 4 -                                                      AWB in the BALKANS 1999
page 5 -                                         AWB in KOSOVA (July 99' - present)
page 6 -                                      AWB in ALBANIA (April - August 99')
page 8 -    AWB side programs in Elbasan, Albania (April - August 99')
page 9 -                     AWB in MACEDONIA (mid-April - mid-June 99')
page 11 & 12 -                                    about AID WITHOUT BORDERS


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 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 expertly
 * all AWB activity involves training and teaching of local people
 * all AWB volunteers are expected to have a very good English, 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-mines 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, 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 ]



"All AID WITHOUT BORDERS projects are designed to have the greatest impact in the long-term, and they are developed in close coordination with local community authorities."
( from the organization principals )

AID WITHOUT BORDERS (AWB), a registered association and a non-profit organization, was established in Israel, May 1998.  AWB is a volunteer force, first of its kind in Israel, dedicated for a long-term development humanitarian projects in areas of conflict and crisis world-wide.  At this stage all volunteers' expenses in the field are being covered by AWB.  Non of our volunteers have been paid.

During the year 2000, AWB aims to send the first teams also to Bhutan, South Sudan, Central America and more, and is expected to implement more projects in the field of survey of land-mines, mine-awareness, mine-victim rehabilitation and water development, as part of global conflict-prevention projects.  (First AWB volunteer was sent through the Israeli Foreign Ministry to work with the UNICEF Mine Awareness program in Angola, late September).

AWB in the BALKANS 1999

AWB is active in the Balkans (Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo/Kosova) since April 1999.   Until now, we have sent 21 volunteers, for at least one month (4 full weeks) each:
5 pediatricians (Macedonia, Albania, Kosova) / 4 pediatric nurses (Macedonia, Albania, Kosova) / 2 public health nurses (Albania) / 2 paramedics (Albania, Kosova) / 1 medical student (Kosova) / 5 youth instructors (Albania, Kosova) / 1 psychological expert (Kosova) / 1 psychiatrist (Kosova)

Our means of support and finance are coming from different sources, including some private donors and companies in Israel.  So far, we haven't got any direct UN or EU funding.

In Macedonia, we worked with KINDERBERG, a German NGO.  In Albania we have been cooperating with AJJDC and got the support of the Austrian government, through HOPE 87.  HOPE 87 continued its support to us in Kosova, until mid September.  The Rich Foundation, Switzerland, supports part of our Mine Awareness and Psycho-Social projects in Kosova.  Lately, we were promised support by World Vision Austria for the continuation of our Psycho-Social projects in Kosovo and also from UNICEF (yet to be secured).

We are running a very humble and a very small operation.  Most of the work in Israel is done by few volunteers.  Non are given yet any salaries.   We are still to get organized and gain experience, but we did manage to do some wonderful things in the past few months in the Balkans.

During 1999 we proved it can be done, during 2000 we would like to do it much better.

AWB cooperated and worked closely with other NGOs and UN agencies (1999):

Other major contributors and sponsors from Israel (1999) included:
Bezeq International, Motorala Israel, Cellcom, Netvision, Telemeser, Maariv,
Menora & Shacham Insurance


 AWB in KOSOVA (July 99' - present)

There are about a million Kosovar refugees resettling in the devastated province since mid-June.  NATO and the UN, which are in charge of the civilian administration in the province, are estimating that over 100,000 homes and buildings, including schools, were destroyed.  Many roads, bridges, water and electric systems were severely damaged, throughout Kosova province.  NATO estimates there are still thousands of land-mines, as well as a large number of unexploded alliance bombs dotting Kosova province.   Including, in many agricultural fields and factories.

AWB advanced team, field coordinator Amir Ben Zvi and Dr. Yair Hoffman, entered Kosova, July 17, 1999.  They were very quick to gather few disturbing facts on which we acted:
 = There is an average of 5 incidents a day, involving land-mine, unexploded ordinances (UXOs) and booby-traps, through out the province.
 = About 30% of the incidents involving minors (0-14), most can be prevented.
 = The local hospitals are virtually empty of equipment.
 = Most medical personnel have very low level of practice experience or never completed medical studies.
 = Most of the Kosovar returnees are suffering from acute psychological trauma, stress, and psychological related illnesses.
 = Most children in Kosova (about 45% of the population) sustained a great psychological trauma and witnessed atrocities.

Health training
- AWB volunteer nurse, Vered Kater, has completed a full month training to all nurses, nurse-students and some other medical staff in the Peje Hospital, runs by COOPERAZIONE ITALIANA (August)

[ 52 nurses & 45 student nurses ]

Psycho-Social intervention training
- AWB volunteer psychological expert, Dr. Nitsa Kalish, initiated a program to aid children suffering from psychological trauma, in schools around Peje, in cooperation with UNICEF and MSF-France (September-October)

[ 5 schools & about 2,500 kids, 80 teachers, 11 pedagogues, 3 supervisors ]

Psychiatric training
- AWB is supporting (since early October) an American psychiatrist, Dr. Mindy Prager, working to rebuild the psychiatric department in the Pristina Hospital, training is planed to continue for a full year

[ 6 full-time & 1 part-time psychiatrists ]

Mine Awareness training
- Three AWB volunteer youth trainers participated in different phases of the UNICEF/UNMACC Mine Awareness Program in Kosova:  2 AWB youth trainers, Inbal Cohen and Adva Alfasi, took part in training 10 MAG local trainers (August-September) / 2 AWB youth trainers, Inbal Cohen and Hamutal Eitam, carried out a training course for 15 local trainers from different NGOs and UN agencies, including:  Rise Phoenix, Mine Awareness Trust (MAT), Children's Aid Direct, ADRA, Islamic Relief, UNICEF and UNMACC (October) / AWB youth trainer, Hamutal Eitam, gave a full month of monitoring and evaluation to all new trainers (November)

[ in the first stage alone: 6 villages, about 90 elders & about 530 kids ]

Youth guides training
- AWB volunteer youth guide, Adi Hason, trained local youth guides (mid-November to mid-January) working with Serbian-Albanian refugee children in an IRC run shelter in Gnjilane and helped supplying them with winter clothing

[ about 100 kids & 3 local youth guides ]


AWB in ALBANIA (April-August 99')

The project commenced after the Serbian government started a massive expulsion of the Albanian Kosovars from their homes in Kosovo, since early-April 99'.  Kosovar Albanians, most of Muslim origin, were striped from their properties and headed to Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and other foreign countries in search of shelter.  At the beginning of the crisis about 3,000 people a day crossed the border of Albania in order to stay there until they could go back to their homes in Kosovo.  The main needs were: food, clothing, shelter, medical care and employment.

In order not to create an assembly-point that would attract the Serbian forces, the Albanian authorities, together with UNHCR, started to direct the Kosovar refugees deep into Albania.  They directed them to the main cities in Albania, so most of the refugees moved beyond the border city of Kukes, to Tirana, Dures, Elbasan and other locations throughout Albania.

Elbasan, the third largest city in Albania, is the main city of a district of about 300,000 people.  The city itself contains 112,000 people in its six regions.  By early-April there were about 10,000 refugees in the district and about 5,000 refugees inside the city.

Within a month, this number increased to 32,000 refugees in the district and 10,700 in Elbasan.  About 90% of the refugees in the city stayed in host-families and less then 1,000 in organized camps.  This situation forced the Elbasan mayor, Mr. Angel Daklji, to appeal for help and support.

To mitigate both the refugees' situation and the authorities' distress, AWB joined with the City of Eilat, Israel, in a special operation.  A medical team of four volunteer doctors and four nurses, together with some eight tons of donated medical equipment, were flown to the city of Elbasan, and a health project was established in cooperation with the local authorities.

By the end of April, the AWB-Eilat medical advanced team had opened two clinics to cover two regions in the city for most of the refugees that were living in host-families.

During the month of June, AWB and AJJDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) established another two clinics in two more regions, when the number of refugees in the city rose to over 10,000.

At the same time AWB medical volunteers visited a local pediatric clinic (fifth) in the City of Librazhd, 67,000 inhabitants in the area that hosted 800 refugees.

In each clinic, foreign doctors and nurses worked along-side with Kosovar doctors and nurses, sharing experience and giving one-on-one tutoring and much needed training.   The number of Kosovar medical personnel participating was made of:  four physicians, seven nurses, two pharmacists and one logistical assistant.

[ total of: 14 Kosovar trainees ]

Foreign volunteer staff:  three AWB physicians, all pediatricians; two JDC physicians, Dr. Rick Hodes, the medical manager of the project, and Dr. Lynn Amowitz; four AWB nurses and one JDC nurse.  This staff rotated in organized shifts, every month.

[ total of: 10 foreign volunteers ]

In all the five clinics, a total of about 6,500 Kosovar refugees & their Albanian host-family members were seen (late April to mid-July).



AWB side programs in Elbasan, Albania - (April-August 99')

Extra-care program: from June 10th, the home visit program was established, to care for patients that could not come to the clinics for awareness and mobility reasons.   Two Kosovar nurses collected the information about the patients who needed extra-care treatment at home, such as: pregnant women, the elderly, handicapped, deaf, blind and the mentally retarded.
From June 15th, the foreign doctors and nurses started the home visits.  AWB arranged for two patients with terminal illness to have hospice care in a special house in Korca, southern Albania, that provided pain management, consulting and proper treatment.

[ about 100 patients were visited ]

Medical training sessions:  from June 2nd, daily training sessions were started, including information about cases or diseases that were present in the clinics.   Dr. Rick Hodes and the two AWB Israeli pediatricians, Dr. Sara Benni and Dr. Marina Shteinfeld, led these sessions by way of open discussions with the refugee Kosovar doctors.  This was a way to improve the skills of the local doctors and to open a dialogue between all the doctors working together.  A similar program was attempted to upgrade the nursing skills of the refugee Kosovar nurses.  The two AWB Israeli nurses, Miriam Sverdlov and Yaffa Dolberg, led these sessions.

[ total of 4 Kosovar doctors, 7 nurses & 2 pharmacists participated ]

Repatriation: on June 29th, UNHCR began an organized repatriation of refugees from Albania.  AWB-JDC role in this plan was to identify, together with other NGOs, vulnerable cases that needed extra care during the transport in the train and buses.   In each train and bus we had one doctor and a nurse that escorted these patients in a special wagon or bus.  Eight trains and buses convoys left Elbasan during this operation.

[ about 15,000 refugees repatriated ]

The AWB-JDC team led by, JDC Dr. Lynn Amowitz and AWB Dr. Sara Benni, got special compliments by the UNHCR representative in the closing meeting of the operation.

Youth education:  by mid-June, an AWB Israeli youth educator, Shlomit Yifat, started a youth-leaders program in the JDC camp and the Kolping Family camp.   She formed a group of young people from amongst the inhabitants of the camp and started to work with them on children's activity plan.  That activity, with two age groups, was a part of other education programs in the camp, such as English lessons and music therapy meetings.

[ 7 youth-leaders & about 60 kids participated ]

Public health education:  by early-July, JDC nurse, Sheila Callaghan, initiated a program, promoting basics of public health to: nurses, refugee children and the general public.  Two AWB Israeli nurses, Lynette Osman-Fishler and Varda Kalwary, continued with this program during August:
 - JDC camp:  mothers and young females were getting weekly sessions about general hygiene issues as: dental care, hand washing, safety issues in the camp, dehydration prevention, women issues, etc.  Same was done with the camp children.

[ about 30 refugee females & 20 refugee children participated ]

- Hospital:  several times a week, different nursing unit each time, with about 15 nurses.  The AWB nurses shared their experiences as an ICU nurses, clinical instructors, and volunteers.  Each time different issues were discussed.

[ about 50 nurses participated ]

- Nursing school: it is run by Italian nuns and it is very efficient.  Work was done with the nursing students in their wound clinic three times a week.

[ 15 student nurses participated ]

 - Health-promotion commercials: first commercials were filmed with the local television station and arrangements were made to air them also on the radio.   Commercial topics to include:  heart disease prevention, litter containment, gun safety, smoking hazards, nutrition, crime prevention, sexual transmitted diseases.

[ 3 commercials were aired for a full month, 2 times a day ]

Plans are being made to continue with the public health program at the different schools in Elbasan and the surrounding area.  AWB is also considering participating in a vocational training program for Elbasan youth, to be established in the next few months.


AWB in MACEDONIA (mid April - mid June)

As more refugees were flooding the area, near the borders with Albania and Kosovo, every day, since NATO operation started, March 24, there was a need in the Tetovo area (north-eastern Macedonia) for pediatricians and medical experts to deal with the refugee influx on the local villages.

Two AWB medical teams (made up of pediatricians, from the best experts in Israel, and very experienced ICU nurses) worked in rural clinics around Tetovo, covering each day several border-villages at a time and also operated in a small clinic in Tetovo itself.    The AWB teams operated in association with the KINDERBERG Fund, Germany.   They were the only foreign experts teams in the region, giving guidance and sharing their experience with local Macedonian doctors and nurses and medical refugee personnel from Kosova.

The border-village operation was established (mid-April) by the first-ever AWB medical team, pediatrician Dr. Zalman Wientroub, pediatrician Dr. Avi Rotschild and ICU nurse Osnat Jacob.  They were replaced (early June) by an all female team (pediatrician Dr. Sara Benni, pediatrician Dr. Marina Shteinfeld, ICU nurses Miriam Sverdlov and Yaffa Dolberg), who crossed over to Albania, a day after NATO forces entered Kosova (June 14).

[ over 8,000 refugees and Macedonian host-family members went through these clinics ]

Over the first year of operation AWB established a strong cooperation with different Israeli NGOs:  FIRST, Magen David Adom, Save a Child, Peula Yeruka, Yativ, and ASRAN (the medical students association of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

AWB executive committee wishes to thank especially, AWB Field Coordinators, Amir Ben Zvi (Albania, Kosova) and Liran Timor (Kosova).  Without them, non-of these actions and operations were never achieved.  Special thanks are also extended to all AWB volunteers in Israel and in the field, our supporters, sponsors, donors and friends, in Israel and around the world.

Erez T. Yanuv - Director

Jerusalem - January 2000