Who we are
The EARTH MEDICINE team is composed of different therapists and health-care workers, specialising in acupuncture, massage therapy, physiotherapy and homeopathy, as well as a local orthopaedic surgeon. All of them bring the best of their experience to improve the health of hundreds of vulnerable asylum seekers who have experienced trauma at physical, mental, and emotional levels.
The Earth Medicine team also comprises other professionals including an administrator, a field a coordinator, a driver, a technical engineer, a graphic designer, and an accountant.
Our volunteer platform provides the opportunity to meet and work with many other therapists from different parts of the world. This broadens our clinical, cultural and therapeutic horizons.
We hope to have many more volunteers who come to share their knowledge with us and to help those who need it most.
Fabiola Velasquez is a physical therapist and social activist with more than 15 years of experience in the field of social work.
Fabiola was born in Puerto Mont, Chile, where she spent her childhood years. Fabiola’s first contact with people in need came when she volunteered for a pre-university internship in Puerto Mont Hospital assisting people in final stages of AIDS. This experience has been fundamental and one of the reasons that prompted her to work in the field of social health, education and social activism.
Fabiola went on to get her Bachelor degree in Education and Social Sciences at the local university. At the same time driven by curiosity and a passion to connect with the ancestral knowledge of her area, she engaged with the local indigenous community studying traditional medicine. After her studies, she worked for several years in the Cultural Center of Puerto Mont developing integration programs for people in poverty and socially vulnerability.
Fabiola then moved to UK where she studied Remedial Therapy with specialization on chronic injury rehabilitation. After moving to the island of Lesvos in 2014, Fabiola volunteered during the first stages of the refugee crisis. Moved by the amount of refugees with disabilities and chronic injuries living in extremely difficult conditions, Fabiola decided in 2018 to commit voluntarily, offering full time treatment to those who needed it most. This was the beginning of Earth Medicine Physical Rehabilitation. Since then the project gained momentum with the contribution of many volunteers, including refugees from the camp of Kara Tepe.
In 2020, the project was officially registered as a Non-Profit Organization under the Greek Law. Fabiola strongly believes that personal health and social health are closely interconnected. Therefore, she aims to continue the project providing a space where the most vulnerable people irrespective of where they come from can receive physical treatment and support thus becoming a place for social integration.
from Lesvos - Greece
Founder, Technical support
Dimitris Patounis is a professional control systems engineer with degrees in both software engineering and engineering design. Dimitris has grown up on the island of Lesvos until the age of 18 when he left for studies and then to pursue a professional career abroad in the automotive industry and later the renewable energy sector (wind energy). Returning on the island of Lesvos he ventured in the development and local production of electric cargo-bicycles focused on sustainable transportation. Dimitris is passionate about the need of humanity to focus on sustainable de-growth social structures and technologies that will allow the human civilization to transform, heal its connection with the environment and avert a climate catastrophe.
He is part of the Earth Medicine team as a volunteer contributing in the technical fields (IT, data management and statistics, service of treatment equipment and any form of technical issues). He believes that the organization plays a very important humanitarian role offering practical physical rehabilitation as well as psychological support for the most vulnerable among refugees. He envisions that the organization can expand the services to support most vulnerable local population with special needs thus becoming a beacon of social integration.
Dr. GERHARD TRABERT
Doctor for General Medicine,Politician,Activist,Author
Dr. Gerhard Trabert is a doctor for general medicine / emergency medicine, professor of social medicine / social psychiatry and author .Gerhard Trabert was born in Mainz,Germany. Dr. Trabert studied social work at the Wiesbaden University of Applied Sciences from 1975 to 1979 .Before and during his studies he was in the athletics team of the German junior and student national team. In 1983 he began studying human medicine, which he completed in 1989 at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz . From the beginning of his medical practice, he completed numerous assignments abroad, including in India , Bangladesh and the USA .
During his trip through India Trabert got to know the "outreach health care concept" medical street work, in which mainly leprosy patients were treated. The guiding principle followed by this concept is: "If the patient does not come to the doctor, the doctor comes to the patient". Inspired by this work and his experiences there, he applied this medical approach to the health care of homeless people. In 1994 he founded the Mainz model, a medical care facility for homeless people. In 2013 Trabert set up the "Ambulance without borders" on the premises of the city of Mainz. Homeless people and patients without insurance coverage are given medical treatment free of charge. Dr.Trabert has been part of the Earth Medicine team since 2018.
Sandra is originally from Bogota-Colombia, and has been living in the UK for over 25 years. She started her acupuncture practice in 2004, later doing post-graduate training in Chinese herbal medicine and in 2011 was awarded a Masters in Science with merit in Oriental medicine. Sandra is always updating and advancing her knowledge. She is now enrolled in advanced Chinese medicine training on Classical herbal medicine with Dr Suzanne Rubidoux.
Sandra believes that working with the most vulnerable within our communities will benefit society as a whole. She has volunteered her therapeutic skills in different organisations working with immigrant women victims of domestic violence, palliative care, and people undergoing alcohol and drug rehabilitation. She has also volunteered at the Indian village of Chapparda, in the state of Gujarat, at a World Medicine’s project aiming to bring acupuncture to those in most need around the world.
Currently, Sandra works in private clinics in Bristol, and is the acupuncture practitioner at the Bristol Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, in the UK.
Sandra has been part of the Earth Medicine team since 2018. She has helped out with our website content, with fundraising, offering Chinese herbal medicine teleconsultations and treatments to our refugees and Chinese medicine advice to enhance our therapeutic results. In August 2021, Sandra spent over 3 weeks at Earth Medicine’s clinic and offered treatments to many refugees experiencing pain, neurological problems, and PTSD. She hopes to be able to visit us regularly to offer her skills.
Janina works for EarthMedicine as a bioenergetical healer. Based in Berlin, Germany, she first came to Lesvos in 2021 for a long-term stay. Starting her professional life in the theatre and music business, she decided in 2015 to follow a different path, searching for a deeper human connection. Completing different trainings as a body psychotherapist, trauma counsellor, practitioner for psychotherapy and bioenergetic healer, she then worked three years for an organization supporting people with chronic mental diseases. There she focused on complex trauma and dissociative disorders, mainly as the consequences due to ritual abuse. Since 2018 she’s also been accompanying terminally ill patients at a hospice service .Since 2020 she is mainly concentrating on bioenergetic healing and expanding her private practice.
Sohrab was born in Maidan-Wardak, he belongs to the ethnic group Hazaras, originally from the mountainous region of central Afghanistan. He speaks Hazaragi, Dari, Farsi and Pashtu. His father used to work distributing fruit and vegetables cultivated on their own family land. He also opened a supermarket in the village, where he traded various kinds of food products from the village to Kabul and vice versa.
At the age of 13, Sohrab’s life changed dramatically when he faced the tragic death of both parents. Added to this was the unstable local economy which was a result of the political and ethnic conflicts that had gradually impoverished the central area in Afghanistan. Sohrab was forced to grow up quickly, as he took on the responsibility of looking after his youngest brother and sister and by the age of 15, Sohrab was already a skilled truck driver, distributing food supplies across various cities in Afghanistan. As a result of his remarkable strength and intelligence he was able to provide for his siblings. He developed a financially successful career as truck driver.
In 2012, he started working as truck driver for a major logistic company in Afghanistan where he was in charge of distributing food supplies to NATO army base operating in Afghanistan. During this time, the conflict between the government and the Taliban increased, increasing the danger of being attacked by the Taliban while on the road. Though he was involved with no political/ideological activism and only took the job to sustain his family, Sohrab became a threat to the Taliban due to his work as a truck driver and his ethnicity.
After facing many life threats, he was badly injured by a rocket while driving his truck and had to leave his country to seek asylum in Greece in 2018. In 2020, in the interest of physical rehabilitation for chronic injuries, Sohrab began volunteering at Earth Medicine as Farsi-Dari translator. By May 2021 he became employed as a full-time driver, transporting people with physical disabilities from the refugee camp to receive physical rehabilitation treatment at the Mitilini Treatment Centre. Sohrab hopes that Earth Medicine’s work will continue to offer treatment to asylum seekers arriving in Lesvos with extreme physical pain and chronic injuries.
Malvina is our administrative coordinator. She was born in Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece. She studied law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She worked as a lawyer for 7 years in Mytilene, Lesvos. Apart from her law studies, since she was a kid has been making all kinds of crafts, such as jewels, accessories, bags.
She’s also a therapist, practicing full body therapeutical treatments for 18 years. Being a local from Lesvos, she has experienced refugee crisis in 2015 from the very beginning. She was deeply touched from the tragic condition of all those people who arrived in the island(homeless, hungry ,sick, vulnerable, families with small children e.t.c).So she tried to help with any possible way. In 2019 she worked in Moria camp for 8 months in the Unaccompanied Minors Office, which was a great experience in all ways.
Coming in contact with all those vulnerable people, she understood their problems and needs and was motivated to engage more with the refugee issue.She started to work with Earth Medicine as a full-time employee since May 2021.
Ole lives in Mainz, Germany and started working with humanitarian organizations from a young age. When he was 13 he joined SEARΑ, a humanitarian organization that leads a kindergarten for malnourished kids based in Santarem, Brazil. Through projects, he collected money to support the organization. At the age of 16 he visited the project in Brazil. After graduating in Mainz 2012 and after several internships in the field of medicine, he studied physical therapy from 2013-2016.
From 2017-2019 he worked as a physical therapist in Wiesloch, Germany. Since the fall of 2019 he studied human medicine at the Johannes-Gutenberg Universitat Mainz.
In the spring of 2020 he got the chance to work in Lesvos with EarthMedicine as a physical therapist. After returning to Germany he continued supporting the organization as he interviews applicants that want to join the program. He believes that this project is one of a kind and it truly shows how a humanitarian organization should engage with people in severe situations. At EarthMedicine, refugees do not only get physical help. We also take care of their needs and mental health.
Bea is an alternative practitioner and has a Master of Science in Integrated Healthcare. Since 1995 she has been working in her own practice as a classical homeopath and psychotherapist with a focus on trauma therapy. She is a supervisor and runs her own training institute for classical homeopathy in Regensburg. Bea has worked in Macedonia and Bosnia after the war as a homeopath and lecturer. She writes articles about the situation of refugees and is involved with Space-Eye. Since August 2021, she has been coming regularly to Lesbos,as a volunteer to Earth Medicine together with other homeopaths.
Dr. KAILIS VASILIS
Dr.Vasilis Kailis is an Orthopedic Surgeon. He was born and raised in Luxemburg. He studied at the Medical School of Patras, and at the Université Catholique de Louvain, in Brussels, where he received the specialty of Orthopedic Surgeon. His contribution improving the health of our patients has been enormous. Since January 2019, Dr. Kailis has provided hundreds of consultation/examinations. Additionally he performed one hip arthroplasty surgery to a 19 year old male who was unable to walk, one metal implant extraction surgery of the tibialis to a young male who was in constant pain and unable to walk properly and several knee arthritis treatments. Dr Kailis also treats the joint deformities of our patients that have been victims of torture as well as spinal issues of our children patients with congenital anomalies.
Victor F Lima
Victor is our graphic and digital designer. He began to volunteer with us in December of 2019 creating our logo and visual identity and since 2020 he is taking care of THE EARTH MEDICINE's website and all our visual communication. Besides that, he runs his own design studio since 2012, working with brands and organisations from all over the world.
Our next step will be to open another clinical centre near Moria camp to allow us to help more people from that refugee camp. At the moment those from Moria having treatments with us are having to walk long hours between Moria and Kara Tepe to receive treatments. During the winter, this means walking in the rain and cold. A new treatment centre will improve this situation for all of them, and enable others who cannot walk that far to access treatments.
We hope to find the financial support we need to enable us to carry out this much-needed project, for the benefit of thousands of refugees living in Lesbos Island.