Camp communities in Lesvos learn life-saving skills

Published: 22 November 2016 13:37 CET


By Eleonora Pouwels and Anita Dullard, IFRC


Having a trained first aider on hand is crucial for accidents and emergencies big or small. That’s why the Hellenic Red Cross are providing first aid training to migrants and refugees living in Greece.


In Lesvos, the Red Cross first aid team is providing training and first aid kits to people living in camps on the island. This Hellenic Red Cross' First Aid team is providing training and first aid kits to migrants living in camps in Greece. This practical, hands on course helps people to understand how to deal with an emergency and assist those who have suffered injuries, allergic reactions, bleeding, or who are unresponsive.


Nazim travelled to Greece from Pakistan and took part in the training. He says:“After learning all this I feel really good and confident that I can help the others.” Nazim is one of 12 people from five different countries trained by Hellenic Red Cross. The Danish Red Cross, who provide psychosocial support to migrants and refugees living in Lesvos, were on hand to assist with translating the training into four different languages.


“First aid training empowers communities by giving them the knowledge and the training to help friends, family and neighbours with common injuries until professional help arrives,” says Andreas Fabricius, Head of Operations for the Danish Red Cross.  


“Being trained in first aid is not only knowing about what to do in case of an accident but also being aware of its causes and dangers.”


In camps this is particularly relevant, as people often live in substandard conditions and exposed to the weather. It is also in this environment that frustrations can lead to fighting.


Hellenic Red Cross first aid volunteers are stationed daily in Lesvos to assist migrant and Greek communities in case of an emergency. Nevertheless, having first aid responders from within the camp community means a more immediate response time, breaks down language barriers and improves the general safety and well-being of people living there.


“Whether it's a minor situation or something more serious, first aid knowledge gives people the confidence and ability to act and can be the difference between life and death,” says Marilena Chatziantoniou from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. “It’s a critical life skill for everybody.”


After practicing first aid techniques on his friends during the training, Nazim says:“It’s a good feeling knowing that I can use this in my daily life.” Each participant was given a first aid kit so they’re ready to respond.