Andreas Broeckmann on Fri, 4 Jun 1999 11:44:21 +0100

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Syndicate: [Balkansunflower-list] Update 10

From: wam kat <>
To: "ddh list" <>
Date: 03 Jun 99 22:11:22 +0100

Update 10

Greetings from the Balkan Sunflower teams.

As ever, the response from the world is keeping us busy, and times have
been a little stressful of late due to several factors , including the
changeover from the Pathfinders teams to the first long term volunteers.
For instance; in Tirana we had difficulty finding people who could respond
quickly enough , leaving quite some days where Wam is on his own

But we have had good news as well, and thus the project rolls on.

Intro from Tirana

For most of you it is probably already some weeks ago that you haven't
heard from me directly, since a bit more then 2 weeks I am in Tirana now,
preparing the coming of the first Balkan Sunflower volunteers, which will
come at the end of this week. If you like to know what life in Tirana and
Albania is look like, besides from what you see on television or read in
the newspapers, I advice you to have a look on the balkan sunflower
homepage, or join the list to get my daily diary (send the message
subscribe diary-l  to the address

But never the less, that Tirana and Albania are having a lot of problems,
not only because over 400.000 Kosov@ refugees came to this country, but
also that it has problems enough without them as being by far the poorest
country of Europe, the preparation of the Balkan Sunflowers is going well.
Good contacts are established with both local and international NGO's
(among them big and small organisation, from which I mentioned UNHCR,
UNICEF, IRC, CRS, and especially the Albanian and Kosova Youth Councils)
are build up and a number of possible projects are in the final state are

The Peace Hostel
In the middle of Tirana we have hired a nice big house, which will be our
central office and peace hostel, which is open for everybody (if you are
not a sunflower volunteer you need to pay $5 per night, what is rather
cheap in this place) as of end of this week.

If you are looking for nice beaches, discos and "having a good time"
Albania and Tirana is not really the place you should go to, however if you
are intersting in doing something usefull and learn something about the
reality behind the things you see in the news, this is one of the places to

News from  Skopje-team Macedonia

The  Skopje-team started to work with five people making contacts with the
local organizations.  This lasted the whole first week, there was a lot to
be done! The NGO-setting in Skopje is not bad, there are different local
organizations working on humanitarian aid, inter-ethnic issues. After a day
in an expensive hotel we found via a friend an apartments for 400 DM, quite
cheap for a complete room, with bathroom and kitchen in the centre of

In the first week we noticed there are different layers in the Macedonian
society: the Macedonians, the Macedonian Albanians, the refugees Kosovar
Albanians and the international community.  There have their own network
and own funders, there are however some working on inter-ethnic
issues.However, it has to be said that there is a lot of  tension in the

After making a lot of local contacts we (the pathfinders Jojo and  Wilbert
together with the longterm volunteers Danae and Gary ) started to work out
two concrete projects.

One is an internet project, under the name of Riks, and the other was for a
large refugee camp, called Stenkovec.
The internet project, to provide internet access to refugees, now has ist
own momentum and a wider suport base, so it seems that Balkan Sunflowers
will participate as a partner organisation.
For Stenkovec 1we have contacts with ICMC (International Catholic Migration
Center), together with the local based NGO, Medajshi (Children Embassy). We
could start an own Balkan Sunflowers community center in the frame of ICMC.
Although it is a transitcamp, a lot of people could stay there for a while,
as they do not have the luck of going on an airplane to abroad. So there is
potential for community work. There will also be collaboration with local
volunteers from the camp and volunteers from Medjashi. Watch this space for
And another possible idea is to work within the Roma (gypsy) community in
Skopje, a community of some 40 000 people including many thousand refugees
from Kosov@ .

News from Belzig

The application forms roll in at a steady pace. At last we are seeing quite
a few applications from people who are NOT in America !! Obviously the very
common internet use there meant that you americans were the  first to
respond, very welcome, but we need lots of other nationalities to make up
the international teams which are so important to the idea of the project.
Related to that, if people would like to donate money to enable those from
poorer countries to take part, this is very much needed. We have already
been approached by SCI Romania and from a Youth Organisation in Bangladesh,
both of whom would like to send volunteers, but will need sponsorship to

Another need is for a computer hardware / network wizard to come and spend
maybe week here to help us sort out our little network and computer needs.
If you could persuade someone to donate what we need for kitting out
internet telephony stuff then that would be good ñ we need to reduce our
phone bills but we don't want to reduce the time on the phone ñ it's a very
human way of contact compared to e-mail!!

Financial worries

The Balkan Sunflowers is not a big organisation with unlimited cash, it is
a network of volunteers, who basically finances themselves. But
nevertheless to run this network money is needed. The last weeks we
experienced that big parts of the world are more or less fed up with the
news which is coming from this part of Europe. But still the crisis is
there and every day new refugees are coming in and the biggest part is
still hosted under the most horrible circumstances. And this will continue
for at least the coming year (if not years).

In the last 7 weeks we have established a lot, but now it is coming to a
critical point, we have organised projects (and get financial and material
support for it), we built up the infrastructure, we mobilised volunteers
from all over the world, but up to now this was basically done by a few
gifts and personal loans (so the project is in fact in debt) and one
largish grant from a Yoga Foundation in the USA. There ARE people raising
money (we thank you all again), e just need more! On this moment we are in
a critical situation, not unusual for a new operation, but in the next
coming weeks we have to collect the money to continue our work. Not much,
just a few tens of  thousands of  dollars, but enough to break the whole
operation if we don't collect it.

Since we are a network basically supporting relief work in the field of
human resources (our volunteers, who do finance themselves, by own local
fundraising) we can operate cheaply, compared with other organisations.
Nevertheless we need some financial support soon, otherwise allthough
almost everything is in place now, we have to cancel it all, what will be a
big disappointment for a lot of the people who are hoping that we can pull
off our activities, especially the refugees.

So we like to stress once more, how borring that may sound, to help us
financially, since as many big organisation as confirmed in the last weeks
this work is essential. Due to the crisis hardly no other organisation has
the time to get it of the ground, the direct needs are having for them, and
when you see it here you would understand why, a too high priority, but
they say over and over again how important it is if the other, call it
second line of relief is done as well.

Mir sada,
                     wam ;-)
Latest info about the Balkan Sunflowers:
or by email:
apply as volunteer:
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:
Balkan Sunflower      |  and put in the text body:
                               | (un)subscribe balkansunflower-list

News from the       | To unsubscribe: Send an E-mail to:
Balkan Sunflowers   | and put in the text body:
(the new SunCokret) | unsubscribe balkansunflower-list
More on the project:

------Syndicate mailinglist--------------------
 Syndicate network for media culture and media art
 information and archive:
 to unsubscribe, write to <>
 in the body of the msg: unsubscribe your@email.adress