10th anniversary of Homoeopathen ohne Grenzen (Homeopaths without Borders), e.V., Germany
In 1996, an individual who had worked at the frontline during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and who had experienced the traumatic consequences of those tragic events, had an idea: What if we could provide homeopathic treatment for the victims of the war? During the following years, things evolved as they sometimes do when the time is right for a vision and the universe somehow gives a project a chance to come to life.
A homeopathic clinic was set up in Mostar by 20 German homeopaths who, over a period of four years, treated thousands of refugees, people who had lost their families or their homes, women who had endured rape, men who had survived torture in concentration camps, all of them severely traumatised. These four years were quite a challenge for the participating homeopaths. We lived in our small consulting rooms in the middle of a destroyed area, breathed polluted air, listened every day to stories of destinies that are hard to imagine, and dealt with pathology that is seen only in hospital settings in Germany. But seeing the healing that homeopathy was able to bring in such extreme situations was such a great reward for our efforts!
During those long nights in Mostar when sleep would not come in spite of total exhaustion, another vision started taking shape: What if we could continue this work, bringing homeopathy to areas where it is still unknown, to countries where access to healthcare is lacking because of poverty or as a consequence of war or natural catastrophes? This low cost healing art could bring such tremendous benefits! So imagine that, one day, we could find homeopaths from everywhere who would join us to share their knowledge, and give in return a little bit of all that homeopathy had given them in their daily homeopathic work, by spending some of their time to help spread this beautiful art all over the world.
In 1997, Homeopaths without Borders, Germany (HoG) was founded in order to have an official organisation that could represent us and serve as an umbrella for other projects. It was meant to be an association where homeopathic medical doctors and practitioners joined together to pursue a common goal, and over the past decade our membership has steadily grown to reach 200 persons, each of them willing to share her or his time, knowledge and experience in various ways.
Progress in Bosnia
What started as a humanitarian project led to the development of a program for homeopathic education, to insure sustainability over time. After four years, the clinic in Mostar was successfully handed over to our former translators, who had become excellent practitioners. With the commitment of British homeopaths in Sarajevo and Dutch colleagues in Tuzla who organized homeopathic education, it took only a few years until a Bosnian homeopathic society was created, with homeopaths now practising in several areas in Bosnia. Just recently, a group of interested homeopaths belonging to the “first generation” of practitioners in that country, completed a newly developed program for training other teachers and supervisors. Over a period of 3 years they were taught pedagogic, didactic and methodological skills, allowing them to organise and supervise clinical workshops. With a number of well-trained homeopathic teachers, the Bosnian homeopathic society will henceforth be able to ensure homeopathic education independently.
With the gradual growth of the organisation, Homeopaths without Borders, Germany was able to develop several projects in various countries:
In Togo we continued an educational program initially started by HwB, France in 1998, whereby doctors and pharmacists received homeopathic education. Furthermore, we successfully helped traditional healers overcome a difficult political situation and achieve legal status for their work.
In Honduras, the employees (medical doctors and nurses) of several orphanages received training in homeopathy, and a homeopathic society was established and is actively organising ongoing educational seminars.
In Skopje, Macedonia, the first educational project started in 2001. Twenty alumni will be attending a seminar at the end of this year to be trained as teachers. A homeopathic society was also founded there and is already a member of the ECCH.
In Lamu, Kenya, 25 traditional midwives received a certificate after the completion of a 3-year training in homeopathy that focused on emergency situations and obstetrics. This training was particularly challenging for us because a special program had to be developed for teaching these women who were illiterate, but who experienced so much success with homeopathy that they willingly walked several hours to attend the lectures.
In Bam, Iran, a humanitarian project was set up to treat victims of the earthquake.
In Kalmunai, Sri Lanka, we opened a free clinic where several thousands of patients received homeopathic treatment after the tsunami. This project as well as the one in Bam had to be stopped due to the political situation in these countries.
I have just attempted to briefly summarize the events of the past ten years. Each project has its own story, with its many problems and experiences that should be shared or written about some day in detail. We had to face a lot of difficulties along the way: lack of money, unreliable counterparts, illnesses of members, sudden changes in the political environment or interference of secret services, difficult intercultural communication, just to name a few. However, we confronted each obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow and, over the years, we succeeded in achieving the goals of our mission.
Finally, on behalf of HwB, Germany, it is with great pride that I am able to announce that an international federation of homeopaths will be created the 24th of November of this year, in association with HwB France, Switzerland, Netherlands and Madagascar. The organisations from these five countries are the founding members. Since there are apparently some legal problems with the expression ” without borders”, our international federation will carry the name, Homeopaths World Wide, for training, treatment and development. This association will be the platform for further cooperation and exchange among us. It will be open for membership to similar organisations throughout the world so that a worldwide network can be created, to be able to respond to the challenges that will undoubtedly be faced by our society in the near future. I want to take this opportunity to thank every individual and institution that have supported us over the years, with selfless commitment. The story of Homeopaths without Borders, Germany is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when many dedicated people get together and share a bigger vision for a better world.
Elisabeth von Wedel