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AWB Visits Greece as Part of Ongoing Refugee Support Project

AWB Visits Greece as Part of Ongoing Refugee Support Project

Since 2016, AWB has provided acupuncture to migrating people in Greek refugee camps and community centers. We have supported a core group of Greek acupuncturists to work in the Athens area with people transitioning from refugee camps to family housing. Every Monday, AWB acupuncturist Artemis Karnezi offers treatments at the Melissa Network, an amazing social service support center serving women and children from 45 different countries.

Many Melissa program participants have experienced war and poverty in their countries of origin, as well as gender-based violence, displacement, potential deportation, and unemployability in Greece. They suffer from insomnia, nightmares, body pain, hormonal imbalances and skin conditions related to stress. Regular acupuncture for the women at Melissa has helped immensely. Program participants and staff alike are emphatic when discussing the benefits of acupuncture in their lives.

In the words of Melissa director Nadina Christabou:

“The response (to acupuncture) is incredible…if the women could have it everyday they would have it. It’s probably one of the best experiences they have. It stays with them when they go home. And then when life is difficult again they want to come back to have acupuncture again, to feel this release from all the stress and anxiety they are facing.”

The Melissa Network and AWB are discussing a collaborative wellness program that includes acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, yoga and Qigong for its staff and program participants. AWB is committed to helping make this happen! 

    Photo by: Enri Canaj

    AWB Returns from WHE Israel/West Bank Trip

    AWB Returns from WHE Israel/West Bank Trip

    WHE participants learning to make herbal creams

    We just completed an amazing three-week journey to Israel and the West Bank where AWB has been working for the past five years. AWB works here because it is a conflict area where most people suffer from deep trauma. Palestinians suffer displacement, discrimination, economic restriction, high imprisonment rates, and other horrors of the occupation. Israelis suffer from traumatic war experiences, terror attacks, and transgenerational trauma from the Holocaust and centuries of antisemitism. And there are other communities that experience trauma-the Druze, Sudanese refugees, and Palestinians who are also Israeli citizens. It is a complicated place with more nuances than not.

    It is AWB’s mission to treat EVERYONE suffering from trauma, to intervene in trauma cycles that perpetuate fear and hatred. We also train practitioners to provide trauma reduction treatments in their own communities so that people can receive support over time.

    Gathering herbs with herbalist Mariam Abourkeek

    As part of this WHE trip, AWB trip participants trained a group of Palestinian health-workers in the West Bank to do the NADA protocol. This is the second Palestinian training AWB has done this year, and we hope to do another in the near future as word about this work spreads in the West Bank. The other important element of the training is that we bring Israelis, Americans and Palestinians TOGETHER to train and practice. Then we go to Palestinian communities and provide treatments as a mixed diverse team of professionals. This is part of the healing work-to demonstrate that people can work together to serve diverse communities despite all the conflicts and challenges. During the trip we did clinics (called healing circles) for Bedouin women in Tel Sheva, for Palestinians in Beit Jala and Bethlehem, and for a group of settlers and Palestinian farmers who are trying to work together in the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion.

    A few comments from women in Bethlehem after their treatments: 
    “I was afraid before, do not feel afraid now.”
    “I felt like something was getting out of my body…I had stress and a headache, now I feel much better, no headache or stress.”
    “I feel like I am in a different world.”

    This is the Medicine of Peace.

    We learned about indigenous healing practices: Kaballah healing, Bedouin herbology, biblical medicinal plants, modern herb farms in Israel, and how TCM is practiced in integrative settings in Israeli hospitals. We also spent time with old friends from AWB Israel and made many new friends in Palestine. It is easy to give up hope that the conflict here will ever resolve. We are doing what we can, along with many others, to make sure it will. Thank you to everyone who supports our work in this region and throughout the world!

    Special thanks to Lhasa OMS and Acurea Medical-USA for donating supplies, and to Ray Lifchez for supporting the Palestinian practitioner training!

    Street Art on the Palestinian Side of the Barrier Wall
    AWB Nepal Update

    AWB Nepal Update

    AWB continues its work providing free trauma-relief acupuncture clinics to women in Nepal. Currently, we have two weekly clinics at the SAATHI women and children’s center where people are in recovery from sex and organ trafficking.

    Also, with coordination with Healing Hands Nepal, we have started our new clinic at Shara (meaning Help) Nepal – a Women Center recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. A couple of women living here used to work as sex workers in truck stops and bars in Kathmandu. There are girls aging as young as 14 to 38. Most of them have anxiety problems and 2 are very serious cases – depression, anger issues, suicidal.

    AWB Responding to Migrant Crisis at Texas/Mexico

    AWB Responding to Migrant Crisis at Texas/Mexico

    This month, AWB volunteers began offering free acupuncture relief clinics for migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and community first responder volunteers at the international bridge that connects Brownsville, Texas to Matamoros, Mexico. AWB is also starting a winter weather clothing drive to support people living under and next to the bridge.

    The international bridge is one of the “points of entry” at which people can apply for asylum. Essentially, it is closed, allowing only a few people to be “processed” each day. People are living on the Mexico side of the bridge with few survival resources. Meanwhile, those who have managed to get through, are placed in detention centers for several weeks and then released without food or money. Detention centers in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) have been releasing 300-400 people a day since June 2018. Often families are left with nowhere to go while they wait for their asylum paperwork to be processed. Some end up sleeping under the international bridge on the Texas side.

    Community first responder volunteer groups, including Las Angry Tias & Abuelas of the RGV, Team Brownsville, and Catholic Charities, have been assisting asylum seekers with food, water, clothes, transportation assistance, shelter, medicine, and toiletries. They have been working around the clock nonstop since the summer, and some volunteers have been experiencing secondary trauma.

    AWB is joining with these groups to provide stress and trauma reduction support to migrants as well as volunteers. You can help in the following ways:

    • Send warm winter clothing for distribution at the bridge. Gently used coats, gloves, hats, socks, warm clothes for adults and children are welcome. You can send your donation directly to one of the coordinators of Las Angry Tias y Abuelas: Cindy Candia, 22737 N. Oscar Street, Harlingen, TX 78552. Please include a note indicating that you are an AWB member or friend.
    • Make a financial donation to the AWB Refugee Support Project by clicking below. Funds will be used for supplies and volunteer transportation.