26 Dec 2011

The Rock-n-Soul Concert is a Success !

The Rock n Soul concert put on in support of Mediterranes by KG Custom Bikes Garage & Services on 17 Dec at their workshop in Poligono Son Oms was a big success.

Over 200 people attended, and they filled many boxes with clothes and food for the homeless of Mallorca.  Over 1000 Euros was also collected on the night.

The event was organised by Nelly Berens and Stefan Gotz of the New Mallorca magazine and by Knut Gruschka of KG Bikes.  Given the success of the event we hope that they will organise other such events in the future to bring more awareness of the work of Mediterranea and to generate more members.

We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to this team and their staff and to the musicians who made the evening such a success.

Talismen of Luck

'Un caganer o caganet' (a child and potty) is a figurine celebrating birth. Traditionally in the Baleares, Cataluna, Valencia and the Canaries it is placed in their cribs at Christmas.  Normally it is hidden in a corner of the crib behind a tree and represents that the 'necessities' also need to be done.  This tradition is fully accepted by the church.

Placing this figure in the crib is meant to bring luck and happiness.

Here we show you our own, handsome, live 'potty figures' of Abugida who will surely bring us luck too.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas

"Don't dream of happiness, make it a reality"

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from all of the Mediterranea Team.

22 Dec 2011

French School, Palma Supports Med

The French School in Palma have started to support Mediterranea with a campaign to collect unused pairs of glasses.  In the photo two of our volunteers hard at work.

19 Dec 2011

Rays of Light for the Blind of Sebeta

Our team of volunteer psychomotor experts have now returned from Ethiopia.  They left behind them an equipped gym, which is now in full swing with psychomotor, and sensory integration activities put on by three monitors who they trained during their trip.  These are the same monitors who we have working in the Messi Room.  

Above all they have left behind many happy children whose lives have totally changed in the last few months.  Children, as all children, who are happy playing, climbing, jumping on cushions on the floor…things that are very normal for most children but very difficult for others.

Apart from the recreational side of these psychomotor activities they will also be very useful for the reading, writing and understanding classes, in that they help to teach time and space orientation and the coordination of shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers, the executive parts of the body and postural control.

After this work in the gym the children move to the classrooms and this helps to make their lessons more real and significant.  Since there are two classrooms, one where they teach reading and writing and one where they do more manual, tactile tasks and the gym, each of the three monitors will pass from one area to the other with their own group.

The initial stage in the teaching of the monitors is now complete and they have been able to enjoy many of the new sensations as much as the children.  They have now started sensorial integration work with the children who are severely and intellectually disabled.

The changes in the children are incredible, this can be seen in their drawings where they are now able to represent things around them in a much more real and recognisable fashion and relate them to themselves.  Many children have started to draw their homes and talk about their own lives and their roots…this has been very emotional for them and for us.

Photos: activities in the gym, teaching the monitors, pretending to be blind so as to be better able to teach (including our representative Dr Zerihun).

17 Dec 2011

Dagem...The Richness of Abugida

The disabled who live in poor countries count for very little and yet there are so many of them.  The poor have a much greater chance to suffer disability as mothers rarely receive appropriate prenatal care or suffer difficult births without help, or for other reasons such as malnutrition, poliomyelitis or accidents.  It’s difficult enough to live in a poor country but very much more so if you have a disability.

Cerebral paralysis is common in Ethiopia due to lack of prenatal care and infections.  As if the disability alone is not enough and due to the general lack of education, this disability carries the stigma that people believe it is a sign of bad luck, that it is the hand of god acting against the family.

Through Dagem we are managing to break these taboos, he is accepted at the school and has enriched the lives of those in the nursery and the whole school.  In these photos you can see him meeting Laura again, our wonderful Occupational Therapist volunteer who facilitated Dagem’s incorporation into the school by teaching Nuria, his daily Ethiopia care, and his mother how to care for him.  Dagem recognised her, lifting his head and giving her a big smile.

In the last photo we see Jonas, the little boy with the eternal smile, who suffers from the same condition but in a much milder form.  Laura is applying a thermoplastic support to his hand.  

Hopefully, as we continue to fight the taboos, we’ll see more such children in Abugida in the future.

The Rich Sun of Abugida

 This year the rainy season in Ethiopia seemed as if it would never stop.  Our summer and autumn in Mallorca, Spain, Europe is the coldest, wettest season in Ethiopia.  But now, eventually, the Ethiopian summer has arrived and as you can see from the photos everyone is enjoying the Rich Sun of Abugida.

12 Dec 2011

Times are Changing in Sebeta


We are late in making contact, it’s been difficult to get a connection and in addition we’ve had very little time.  The children of Sebeta now have a psychometric room and three fantastic monitors who will accompany them in the process of their personal evolution.

We’ve managed to arrange that not only the adults of the school but also people from the village, the seamstress, the carpenter, the iron maker, the pillow salesman etc are involved in the project.  It is becoming an enriching experience for everyone.  The director of the school is aware of all that is going on and has so far accepted all the proposals that we’ve made and there are many, as we are working quickly in order to get as much started as possible in the few days that we have left.  At least Dr Zerihun, who performs so many roles for Mediterranea and with such a big heart, always accompanies us.

The children, following their first sessions, have communicated through drawings and words that they feel content, fortunate and confident.  Following the first day’s sessions we’ve had a further 35 children sign up for the second day.  The biggest success so far has been the Ethiopian monitors who have been very motivated, making big efforts during the teaching and practical sessions, with the creation of materials and even out of their working hours, dedicating time to meet with us to discuss the events of the day, to ask questions, share their thoughts on changes, situations that they’ve noticed and to share their emotions.  They are very motivated, engaged and continually asking good questions.

The work with the children is very intense and productive and we are learning as much from them as they are from us.  To see the children move no one could tell that they were severely visually impaired and to share in their joy no one could ever say that we speak different languages because it is plain to see that when it comes down to it we all speak the same language.

Regards and a hug from Sebeta

NB The psychometrics are working with the children who have the poorest vision, the blind and the virtually blind, those who due to their disability have the least stimulation.

The Spirit of Christmas at the Portals Christmas Fair

For those of you who were looking for the Spirit of Christmas last Sunday I can tell you without doubt that it was to be found down at Puerto Portals at the annual Winter Fair on December 4th.  The crowds arrived and mingled with each other:  they ambled through the assortment of pretty Christmas stalls, many of which were decorated with magical fairy lights.  Santa Claus hats were everywhere and the angels from the local school sang traditional Christmas carols.  People relaxed listening to the music and enjoying the wonderful food that was on sale everywhere.  The smell of the mulled wine and the mince pies told us Christmas was just around the corner.

Right in the middle of all this activity was Mediterranea’s very own Father Christmas with all his little helpers!  They worked their magic turning anything and everything into liquid gold.  They asked people to guess the weight of the Christmas Cake, they sold draw tickets for one of the biggest and best Christmas draws with over thirty prizes to be won, they shook their collection tins and the crowds queued for a chance to take part in the fun and play the game of Tombola.  Father Christmas sat the children on his knee while they told him of the things they hoped he would bring them on Christmas Day.  The spirit of Christmas was everywhere.

At the end of a long and very enjoyable day we counted the money, hoping we had raised a significant amount for the charity that is so close to all our hearts.  It was humbling to realise the generosity of the crowds that had passed by our stall that day.  We had raised a phenomenal amount  -just over 3,000euros.    The changes that will be made to people’s lives with the work that  the volunteers of Mediterranea  will now be able to carry out will be incredible.

The stars will shine brighter in Ethiopia, in Ghana, and in Mallorca not only because of Mediterranea but also because of the Spirit of Christmas that was down at Puerto Portals at the Winter Fair

Contributed by Med Member Diane Oatley 

8 Dec 2011

Around the World with BIC

When The British International College held their World Fair on 19th November it was a rich celebration of global cultures. The multi-national students, parents and teachers showcased their countries offering everything from Irish dancing to Bedouin tents, samosas to sushi, biltong to snoep, pumpkin pie to blinis. Proceeds are to go to Mediterranea and the stall holders were kind enough to donate unsold food. This was enthusiastically received by Can Gaza, a shelter in Mallorca, with the comment, "We´ll celebrate everyone´s birthday tonight." Thank you BIC.

Contributed by Med member LD.

7 Dec 2011

Annual Review of our Achievements in Ethiopia (ABUGIDA)

 Abugida, our "Independent Republic".

As you are aware, for the last five years we have been solely and fully responsible for the management and maintenance of the Abugida infant school, a project which has had many ups and downs along the way and involves the following: salaries for 33 staff at the present time, 3 daily meals for 235 children (4 meals in the case of the babies), maintenance, repair and extension work (just making a new septic tank cost us 5500 euros), learning materials (we have financed all kinds of learning resources for our children), uniforms and other expenses such as transport, electricity, water, telephone, etc. 

We are also continuing with the classes for adults and we have taken under our wing various mothers who are victims of domestic violence or have ended up on the streets with their children. They stay in our “refuge room” on a temporary basis and if there is work in Abugida they stay on to work or if this isn’t possible we give them a loan so that they can become independent. 

In theory Abugida school belongs to the Government but they don’t pay anything at all. They have left it in our hands, which is positive because this allows us to have direct control of its management and we can send our volunteers to give training to the staff and whose help is invaluable.

We wish to emphasize that we are “solely and fully” responsible because from time to time we have seen photos of Abugida children on other websites, FB or blogs which have undoubtedly been used without our permission in the majority of cases and this can also give rise to misunderstandings of supposed collaborations, which in reality don’t exist.

Abugida develops and grows. It’s a well established project, a "centre of excellence" and "our" children are adorable. They are growing up strong and healthy. The ones with HIV mix with the others, they don’t have health problems and they are not discriminated against.

Most of the children have a sad history behind their smiles so Abugida is an important place for them, where they can feel secure and happy for many hours of the day.
In the nursery we have a special treasure, little Dagem – who suffers severe cerebral palsy – and who thanks to Nuriya his exclusive carer and the education he recently received from Laura (a psychometrist and great professional), he is making steady progress and is a very happy child.

What can we say about the nursery school: it is unique place in the whole country. None of it would have been possible (from a material point of view, yes, but not from the point of view of attention and stimulation) without Alejandra, that wonderful teacher who tackled a big challenge at the time.  Alejandra has been travelling to Abugida during her holidays for the last two years. We know that her first year was difficult but we also know that when she returned the second year she was pleasantly surprised at how well the nursery school was running. This is all down to you, Alejandra, many thanks.  You have created something quite unique.

Thanks also to all the other volunteers who have been out to help, there have been lots of you this year and you have all made your mark.  

Currently Abugida costs us more than 5000 euros a month in fixed expenses, the instability of the Ethiopian currency and continued inflation mean that the budget can increase within short periods of time. Many thanks to all of our members and supporters who make all this possible.

6 Dec 2011

Recent Press Coverage for Mediterranea

December issue of ABC Mallorca runs a six page article on Mediterranea's Dignipacs,our support of Zaqueo and the homeless of Palma.

El Mundo covered Mediterranea's efforts in bringing over and caring for Martha and her brother Mesfin and the excellent work of Dr Sanpera who has been her primary medical guardian at Son Espases and has operated on her five times.

5 Dec 2011

Med Bringing about Change in Sebeta

Hello Followers of Mediterranea

Here are some more photos of the recent visit of Dr Panades and Cati Ramis to Sebeta and their ophthalmic review of the children.

Since their return to Mallorca there have been a number of conversations as to how to organise the operations of those children who need them.

As for those who can see, with or without help, they are going to start to learn to read and write.  Their new classroom is prepared: desks, new chairs and the study materials that they need.  Mediterranea has organised and covered the costs of this classroom and it’s materials.

Two psychomotor specialists are in Sebeta at the moment. They will be joined by two more in the next few days.  They want to get the gym up and running.  They are planning to make, with the help of some of the elder boys and girls, some foam mobiles that they can then use to assist with the psychomotor stimulation of the children.  Through this process they hope to find a couple of boys or girls who will be able to fulfil the role of sports monitors in the future.

We excitedly await photos of all these activities.

4 Dec 2011

Rock & Soul Concert on behalf of Mediterranea

A few weeks ago Nelly Berens, editor of New Mallorca Magazine interviewed Mediterranea volunteer Britta Krebs, who handles our German press relations.  This was followed by a visit to Zaqueo to see how Mediterranea supports efforts to feed, clothe and provide dignipacs for the homeless. The New Mallorca Magazine then carried an article on Mediterranea's work.

Nelly was so impressed that she has now organised a benefit concert on behalf of Mediterranea.  As can be seen from the poster this will take place starting 20.00 hrs on Sat 17 Dec at the warehouse of KGBikes in Poligono Son Oms and features Bands 'The Lost Rock' & 'Las Cono Records'.

3 Dec 2011

School of Tourism Supports Mediterranea

This week two of our volunteers presented Mediterranea to the director of the School of Tourism as part of an effort to encourage more young people to participate in helping those in need.  They followed this up later in the week with presentations to the students.  As a result the school has immediately implemented a food and toiletry collection effort, as can be seen from the photos.  Some students have also shown interest in trying some fund raising events.

2 Dec 2011

Dr Michael Stoma and Dr Victoria Baldo to receive COPESPA Prize from Prince of Asturias

The Portal Nous Medical Centre represented by Dr Michael Stoma and Dr Victoria Baldo who will be travelling to Madrid on 19 th Dec. The Medical Centre has been nominated for the CODESPA Prize for small companies. CODESPA is an organisation devoted to developing the concept of social responsibility in corporations and each year it selects and awards prizes to recognise exceptional performance in four different categories. This year the Portals Medical centre has been selected as one of two finalists in the PYME Solidarity category for it’s outstanding work and commitment to countries in development. The Medical Centre was chosen from all entrants by an esteemed panel of judges formed of personalities from the world of business and culture. The prizes will be presented by the Prince of Asturias.

A summary of the Portals Medical Centre submission is given below.
The Medical Centre provides the headquarters for Mediterranea NGO. The cost of rentals in the area of similar characteristics is 1500€. The Medical Centre carries the costs of telephone, mail, Internet etc. The Medical Centre has brought approx 80% of the Mallorca based members to Mediterranea, being patients of the practise and representing approx 50% of the total membership. Since before the war in Bosnia the Medical Centre has been a focal point in the community for the coordination of help to the needy in the area. Generosity, hard work and motivation to do something for the less fortunate has been the driving force of the humanitarian work of the clinic.

Here are some examples of the work carried out by the clinic:
- Cancer drugs and incubators were sent to the Paediatric Dept. of the Hospital of Kosovo in Sarajevo during the siege of the city. The medicines entered via different routes and were hand delivered to the department.
- Collaboration with the humanitarian aid convoys sent from Palma to Bosnia with ‘Joves Empresaris’
- Collaboration with Doctors of the World in the provisioning of the Mostar Hospital during the siege of this city.
- Collaboration with Doctors of the World in the forth world programme in the fight against the spread of AIDS
- Collaboration with Doctors of the World in the Rwandan conflict
- Sending over 30 tonnes of medicines and medical apparatus to Cuba between 1997 and 2007
- Collaboration in the development of a programme for the supply of all medicines needed at the Oncopediatric Dept. of the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology in Habana, Cuba.

The Portals Nous Medical Centre collaboration with many different local institutions has acted as a focal point for Humanitarian Help and Solidarity and helped to teach children and teenagers that supporting others less fortunate is a normal and natural obligation. For over ten years the Medical Centre have been encouraging their patients to be regular blood donors and have worked through Hermandad de Donantes de Sangre.

Thanks to help from other professionals in the area, the doctors of the Portals Nous Medical Centre formed Mediterranea NGO in 1999. Dr Michael Stoma taking the role as president and Dr Victoria Baldo as member of the board responsible for Mediterranea projects, initially in Cuba and now in Ethiopia. Mediterranea NGO is registered in the Baleares and has been declared ‘Utilidad Publica’ by the Ministry of the Interior on 1/7/2011.

The Portals Nous Medical Centre is grateful to it’s kind patients and friends who working with the centre to help those in need have made it possible for the centre to be nominated for this prize which we hope to share with all of you.
The CODESPA Prize Winners in the different categories are as follows:
EMPRESA SOLIDARIA > Acciona "Luz en casa". > La Caixa "Alianza empresarial para la vacunación infantil".

PYME SOLIDARIA > Redyser "Eqa. Empresas que ayudan". > Centro Médico Portals Nous "Escuelas de Akaki, Etiopía".

VOLUNTARIADO CORPORATIVO > Grupo VIPS "¡Hoy cocino yo!". > FCC "Voluntarios FCC. Portadores de alegría".

PERIODISMO PARA EL DESARROLLO > Juan Andrés Siles "Aprendiendo a cooperar". > Javier Arcenilla "Refugiados Rohingya. Ciudadanos del desamparo".

26 Nov 2011

Social Centre for the Old in Akaki has been Repaired

Dear Followers of Med

Here are some before and after photos of the future old people's social centre in the rail track area of Akaki in Ethiopia.  It will be the first centre of it's kind in the whole country.  As you can see they've done a very good job with the repairs.  All that remains now is what we need for inside which will be primarily just the chairs and planned activities for each day.  If there are any members who have or know of people who have experience with projects for the old then please contact us at mediterranea.ong@gmail.com, all ideas are very welcome.

24 Nov 2011

The Old in Our Society

The old constitute one of the poorest sectors of our society and their situation is worsening.  The crisis is not the only culprit for this worsening in their situation because before the crisis the quality of life of many was precarious.

Spain is rich in poor old people.  More than half of old people who live alone are considered under the poverty umbrella.  A third of our old are underfed due to living alone, having chronic illnesses or sometimes from having a miserably small pension.

Everyday, as the supermarkets and markets close, many of the old can be seen searching the rubbish bins.  To eat from the rubbish is becoming ever more common amongst the retired Spanish, with what they save they are able to survive to the end of the month.  Those are people who receive little more than 300 euros a month to pay all of their subsistence costs, so they feel obliged to search the rubbish into order to supplement their food.

For a long time Med has had the intention to help this vulnerable area of our society but we’ve never found the right way.  We were not able to get precise information or logistic help.  Now it seems that we may be able to do something, we have made some opportune contacts and have a team ready to take action.  If all goes well we hope soon to be able to help old people with scarce resources in an area of Palma.  We hope to provide more information soon.

23 Nov 2011

Student Med Member Appeals to Fellow Students at Queens College

James Spratt addressing Queens College Students Years 11, 12 and 13 in Genova last Friday at a presentation of the new Mediterranea Youth Programme initiative, which aims to involve young people in all aspects of the work that Mediterranea works in - both in Mallorca and the third world.   James Spratt, Queens College co-ordinator for the project, said “It’s pretty clear that young people today who are interested in a successful and productive future need to be aware of their own personal development and the concept of ‘Giving something back’ which is increasingly important in the modern world”.  This echoed the sentiments expressed by Dr Stoma earlier in the morning that to live in a world of plenty when so many are in need is an inequality that needs to be urgently addressed.  Mediterranea hope to provide a means through which the young people of Mallorca who care and want to make a difference in the world will be able to channel their efforts, energy and enthusiasm. 

22 Nov 2011

The Eyes of Abugida

 Here are some photos from the days that our visiting ophthalmic team reviewed the children of Abugida...the photos speak for themselves.