Who we are

The EARTH MEDICINE team is made up of different physical therapists, massage therapist and health professionals of different nationalities and backgrounds. Together we work every day to improve the health of people living in refugee camps on Lesbos.

 

Our team is also made up of Farsi and Arabic interpreters, who are a fundamental part of our therapeutic work.

 

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.

Our story

Since 2015, tens of thousands of refugees and migrants from Syria,  Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Congo, Cameroon and other Middle Eastern and African countries, began to arrive in Greece, and particularly in the Island of  Lesbos.

 

In these last few years, Europe has seen the endless repetition of the story of millions of people who, in order to save their lives, have been forced to leave their countries, their families, and their homes to face an uncertain future all alone and deal with the deep psychological and physical trauma acquired through their journeys.

 

It was seeing this harsh reality in Lesbos, that prompted us to create this organisation, to offer migrants and refugees the possibility of accessing physical rehabilitation treatments.

 

After a year of hard work and facing many limitations, we have felt the need to expand our work to offer more complete and effective treatments. We have now incorporated Acupuncture treatments to treat  Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. 

 

As therapists, we cannot disassociate the physical body from the mind and emotions that negatively impact our health. For this reason, we understand that we cannot be rehabilitated from physical injuries when intense psychological and emotional trauma is affecting the chemistry of our whole body by constantly releasing stress hormones that prevent our physical healing. Through our work, we have seen that it is imperative to treat post-traumatic-stress disorders in people who have been victims of violent episodes, in order to help them restore their physical health.

 

We are currently located inside Kara Tepe camp, Lesbos, Greece. We have conditioned a container as a clinical centre where we treat refugees who live in the Moria and Kara Tepe camps. Those who live in Kara Tepe are mostly vulnerable families and therefore they are our priority. The people we treat who come from Moria camp are mostly young single people 

without families who are also in a situation of vulnerability and who require long-term treatments, due to the nature of their injuries.

Our team

Fabiola Velasquez

from Chile. 

Earth Medicine founder 

Physical therapist and social activist, with more than 15 years of experience

in social therapeutic work. She has worked in countries such as

Chile, Argentina, England and Greece.

In 2018 she created the physical rehabilitation project for refugees from

Moria and Kara Tepe camp in Lesbos, Greece.

Currently this is the only project that provides physical rehabilitation to refugees on Lesbos.

The next challenge is to open a rehabilitation center to serve more

people who live in the city of Mytilini and who cannot access physiotherapy treatments at the hospital.

Sandra Arbelaez

from Colombia/UK

TCM Practitioner

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 an eternal student, always updating and advancing her knowledge. She is now enrolled in an 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. She is looking forward to offering Acupuncture treatments in our clinic once lockdown is lifted in the UK.

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Nahed Hossaini

from Afghanistan 

Farsi-English Interpreter

Nahed is a Farsi- English interpreter. She joined the Earth Medicine team in January 2020. Her work and dedication is admirable. Nahed has a great sense of compassion and sensitivity, qualities of great importance in this field of work.

Khalida is our Farsi-Arabic- English interpreter. Her great ability to learn languages has made her an indispensable person for our work.

Currently she is studying German language and her big dream is to study nursing.

from Colombia.

TCM Practitioner

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from Afghanistan 

Farsi-Arabic-English  Interperter

Khalida Amini

Zarghuna Heydari

from Afghanistan 

Fitness Instructor 

Zarghuna is our fitness instructor for women. As the number of female patients has increased, Earth Medicine has needed to incorporate Fitness class for women and achieve empowerment through their body and their health.

 

Zarghuna has a brother with a serious brain disease that prevents him from walking, she knows the importance of physical treatment to improve health and prevent muscle deterioration. Her great desire is to continue studying until she becomes a therapist with great skills to help people with chronic diseases.

Munther Al - Turkey

from Syria. 

Hijama Therapist

Munther It is our Hijama practitioner. His extensive knowledge of this ancient technique gives us great confidence and security.

 

He was educated and trained in this therapy from a very young age. His grandmother also practiced it. Munther is a Bedouin with an immense wisdom about alternative therapies from the desert that have been used since millennia.

 

Munther has been part of the Earth medicine team since January 2020

Our future

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.

Donate Now

Help us to continue providing physical rehabilitation to 100+ refugees and migrants in Lesbos, Greece.