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A network for grassroot relief for Kosovo Refugees

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Posted by CCafe FWD - Wam our Croatia KidCast Correspondent on May 05, 1999 at 01:47:05:

In Reply to: posted by CCafe on February 24, 1999 at 12:16:56:

From: wam kat
To: balkansunflower-list@ddh.nl
Subject: [Balkansunflower-list] Sunflower Update 8
Date: 04 May 99 22:36:40 +0100

A network for grassroot relief and reconciliation
work for the Balkans.
latest news and original SUNFLOWER plan:

Balkan Sunflowers
c/o postfach 1219, D-14806 Belzig
+ 49 33841 30670 (30671 fax)
applications: steffie@mir.org
info: lists@mir.org
Account: SUNFLOWER Accountnr 160 160 1
Bank Oekobank Frankfurt (Germany)
BLZ 500 901 00

Let me at least write the intro tonight. Life can be like a film, I just
tried to explain asylseekers in Germany, with whom I normally "work" to
make clear that I had not forgotten then and they giv eme their green
light to continue. I had problems with my providers since I seems to
produce to much mail on the systems I am using. And then answering the most
of my email. Hearing that the insurance of all volunteers is fixed. Having an
interview with the local newspaper and the Boston Globe. Getting the date fixed
for the pathfinders. Tomorrow we will meet in Vienna and go from there to
Skopje and Tirana, the works starts, I have Sunflower seeds with me
the first Balkan Sunflowers will start to grow soon.

Tirana and Skopje
Tomorrow the first "pathfinders" will make them
selfs on their way to Skopje and Tirana. The trips
are well prepared under the circumstances and after
a joint meeting on Thursday in Vienna, the both teams
will land in the both capitals on Friday. Since
I am myself involved in the Albania pathfinder
team, I would be on online as regular as in the
last 4 weeks. We will update each day the office
in Germany, so if you have questions please
direct them to balkansunflower@mir.org.
For both cities however we are looking for people
who can come within the next two weeks and start
working on the local offices there. We have already
for both places a small team, but based on the
experiences we hope that soon a few more will
be able to help solving all the building up
problems which surely will come in the next

Fundraising and money
As I have seen and read from all over the world
the local, regional and national fundrasing,
especially for goods is full in actions. I have
heard from toys, teddybear, tons of clothes,
painting sets, footballs, what ever. We have draw
up a long list of wishes, which you can read on our
website in the coming days.
Also the first money is coming in on our bankaccount,
but it is ofcourse not yet the enourmous amounts
needed to finance all steps we want and have to
In different countries people started to get
the Balkan Sunflowers registrated as an official
organisations, in the main time and other countries
we have already working contacts with organisations
who will officially represent the Balkan Sunflowers
Furtheron in some countries fundraise groups are
build up to raise the "big money", we will see soon
how that will go.

Training and Evolution
A small working group was established on the
meeting in Germany, and have started their work. It
however takes a bit of time before we will be able
to organise in each country where volunteers are
coming from a small training and preporation
programme within the coming 2 months. In is
a lot of work and includes some funding we don't
have yet, but on which we are working. If people
would help working in this group, please
contact Vanja Nikolic in Zagreb
Secondly we want to stress ones more, to start a
supportgroup around you if you have planned to
be a Balkan Sunflower Volunteer. Talk with your
friends, family, co-workers and relatives about it.
It is not only needed to maybe raise you travel
and staying moeny that way, but you also have
a group to report back to and with whom you can
talk afterwards.
We hope that groups of (ex)volunteers will
be established in all regions, but that will
indeed take some time to realise it. Based on
the experiences from last time we realise that
the evaluation and contact afterwards is really
needed. It is by far not the nicest things you
will went through during your time overthere.
And you need to have somebody to share your
experiences with.

WEBSITE http://www.balkansunflowers.org
At last he is in the air, it took some time and
there were some technical problems to be solve but
at last you can reach our website via this
address. We also ask again those organisations
who support us to put a link on there homepage
towards our page. Allready a lot have done it
but it would be nice if more would follow.

Mailinglists and Workinggroups
Due to the enourmous amount the mailinglist
(workinggroups) were producing in the last 7
days two servers from my different providers
broke down, so we had to stop it. Luckely
enough the APC (Association for Progressive
Communication, an electronic network (providers)
of Environmental, Peace and Human Rightgroups)
support our initiative. So by now this working
groups (mailing lists) are installed on one of
there servers, namely Econnect in Praha. The
new addresses and ways to subscribe you can
order via a mail to lists@mir.org.

Tirana Diary
More and more people are asking if I am going
to write a Tirana Diary as a kind of follow
up of the Zagreb Diary. It is not clear yet
if I will have the time and the technical means
to do it, but people who would like to recieve
it, when it is coming, please send me a mail.
It will be a shorter diary this time, but still
lot of news, you wouldn't hear about on the news
and even on the internet about the situation in
Albania on this moment.
Already three bigger newspapers have asked if they
may publish it. From one newspaper I will get a
laptop, since my old one haven't survived the last
Maybe some newspaper can organise me a presscard
which makes some things easier, some newspapers
already promised to publish it, when it is coming,
unfortunately I forgot to ask them for a presscard.
I promise that I wouldn't send to this mailinglists,
we want to keep the traffic low on this one.

Central Office in germany
Besides Steffie (Stephanie Michaels), Burkie
(Burkhard Pranke, a old long term
volunteer from Nexus (Humanitarian aid) and the
Pakrac Project), also .... (UK volunteers, who
was working before in France) will join the
office team at Thursday. In a few weeks from
now however even more people are needed, since
daily the work is increasing. So somebody with
organisational talent is really welcome.

HUManitarian AID
In the last days we got more and more in contact with
groups in Germany, who already had brought goods to
Croatia and Bosnia, before, or who are still doing
in and new ones who has got trucks and want to help.
We hope that in the next two weeks the infrastructure
stands and all those collections, which we have heard
of will be transporter to Albania by new grassroot
network. At least in Germany, hope this will be build
up in more countries, in the hope that not too many
small trucks will be unnessary drive all the way to
Albania. By cooperation we can transport bigger
amount much cheaper. On the way from Tirana I will
pass Rome to talk to the Consertium of NGO's in Italy
in order to talk about cooperation.

June/July/August and later
When the reports of the "pathfinders" will be positive
the first Balkan Sunflowers teams will start to work
at the 30th of May. For June we already have far too
many volunteers at this moment, at least from the USA
(thanks people), the other parts of the world are
a bit under presentated. That is changing by July/
August however, for that time period and the months
afterwards (remember those refugees will stay there
through the winter) were already people applied for,
but still not enough. Remember the Balkan Sunflowers
want to promise continue to the camps were we are
working. Each project started in one refugee center
will stay there as long as there are still refugee
in this camp, or when other organisations take over,
or when a camp gets so self-organised that not many
volunteers are needed there. Like what happened after
a few years in Croatia.
Ones more we like to stress also people outside the
USA to apply, since the core from this initiave is
that International mixed groups work together in the
refugee centers.

The Flying Prankster were the first (but already not
the only anymore) who announced that they will come
for a tour alone the Refugee centers where the Balkan
Sunflowers will work by the end of July. They started
also a fundraising action in order to be able to leave
those instruments behind after the concert to be use
in the refugeecamps and to bring a bit more instruments
with them then they are needing for their concerts. It
would be nice if we were able to continue this type of
tours in the coming months, especially when the media
coverage for the bad situation of the refugees in Albania
and Macedonia and elsewhere for that matter, will be gone
from the frontpages and the newsreports.

Also different group from musictherapist and other
type of creative therapists has been contecting in the
last days with an offer for cooperation. It looks that
way that the Balkan Sunflowers are including very
experiences proffesionals in their teams. Already
starting with the first ones, besides people who have
SuncoKret experience, a lot of people will be involved
who have been doing simular type of work all over the
world. The is nearly from each warregion of the world
a person present in those teams who worked in such area
with refugees or parentless childs.

For all those people who asked about insurance during
the time in Albania and Macedonia we can announce that
the cooperation with SCI is now operational and all our
volunteers will be insured via the Wintherthur Insurance
compagny from Switzerland.

More and more media coverage is coming, lots of
volunteers organised local news coverages, but also
the bigger newspapers are more and more phoning
our office to get an update on our doings. This
is fantastic since it help us to reach out to
those people who haven't found us on the internet
yet. I think I never did so many interview by
internet as in the last 4 days, we are very positive
looking forwards to the results.

quote from a message out of the states:
"For people wanting some information on the history of the conflicts in
the Balkans, the man to read is Noel Malcom. His books Kosovo: A Short
History and Bosnia: A Short History may very well be some of the best
books on this topic."

Mir sada,
wam ;-)
Latest info about the Balkan Sunflowers:
or by email: lists@mir.org
apply as volunteer: http://www.mir.org/dataform
by the way, we have bankaccount now:
Accountnr: 160 160 1
Accountname: Sunflower
Bank Oekobank Frankfurt (Germany)
Blz 500 901 00
Telephone numbers: +49-33841-30670 +49-33841-30671 (fax)

News from the | To (un)subscribe: Send an E-mail to:
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News from the | To unsubscribe: Send an E-mail to:
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More on the project: http://www.ddh.nl/org/balkansunflower

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