Contributions to humanitarian aid in Ukraine by Green Cross Switzerland

Contributions to humanitarian aid in Ukraine by Green Cross Switzerland

With the large-scale start of the war in Ukraine, Green Cross Switzerland was forced to limit its project work in Ukraine. It was natural for us to provide fast and uncomplicated aid. Already in 2022, the Foundation delivered water treatment systems, goods such as food, clothing or medicines to affected areas in Ukraine. This work will continue in 2023. While the delivery of additional water treatment systems is planned for the summer, the Foundation has been able to deliver vital goods to various regions.

In the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, the focus in April was on delivering basic foodstuffs. Thanks to your donations and the cooperation of local helpers, almost 700 people received potatoes and beans twice in two days. Furthermore, a generator for electricity supply could be provided to a kindergarten.

The fact that the war also affects many animals is often forgotten and the support of these creatures is often neglected. For this reason, Green Cross Switzerland has supported various animal shelters, such as the “Masyanya” in Skrygalevka in the Kiev Oblast with relief supplies. On the one hand, food in the amount of 260 kilograms could be provided to the 200 dogs and 100 cats. On the other hand, urgently needed vaccines were delivered in a second shipment and the survival of the shelter’s animals could continue to be guaranteed.

In another relief action, the population of the Ukrainian city of Novhorod-Siverskyj was supported with infrastructural goods as well as financial contributions. For besides the war taking place, the city as well as the surrounding region has been hit by floods since spring.

In the sense of the principle represented by Green Cross Switzerland “help for self-help” the rescuers of the State Service for Emergency Situations Novhorod-Siverskyj were equipped with a modern boat engine. With this engine, the rescuers can carry out water rescue operations more effectively and quickly in order to save people and help the population affected by the floods more efficiently.

Together with the locally based NGO Knjazhij Hrad (КНЯЖИЙ ГРАД), Green Cross Switzerland also helped out with financial contributions to set up a shelter for the local population. The room, which is currently under construction, will serve as a shelter for the residents from military attacks by the Russian army.

The Foundation’s humanitarian aid in Ukraine will continue, and in due course we intend to help with reconstruction. The support of Ukraine would not work without the cooperation of local helpers and you, our donors. Therefore, we would like to thank you very much for your contributions; you guarantee that we will be able to continue our work in Ukraine in the future.


Cooperation with DeinAdieu: Green Cross Switzerland launches new section on legacies and bequests

Cooperation with DeinAdieu: Green Cross Switzerland launches new section on legacies and bequests

Green Cross Switzerland is pleased to announce and introduce the fresh section on our homepage. You can now visit our page on legacies and bequests in German, French and English, which we have successfully launched in cooperation with DeinAdieu.

The portal supports Swiss relief organizations by broadly informing the population about the possibility of making a testamentary donation. This also includes the provision of services and information on issues related to inheritances and legacies. Accordingly, you can now access various offers through our homepage to plan your estate carefully and according to your wishes. Our site offers the following advantages:

You can take advantage of a free initial consultation and discuss the examination of your situation or your will with an inheritance law specialist.

You can easily and safely create a will using the online tool with instructions and take Green Cross Switzerland into account.

You can make a funeral notice that can be sent by email and Whatsapp or shared on social media and considered in the note Green Cross Switzerland for funeral donations.

You can use a living will to document your will regarding medical measures should you no longer be capable of making decisions yourself due to an illness or accident.

By drawing up an advance directive, you can appoint a person you trust to represent your interests in the event of incapacity.

By using these offers in favor of Green Cross Switzerland, you help us to continue our tasks and projects in the longer term. The more funds we have available for this purpose, the more targeted and sustainable measures we can take by acting responsibly and carefully.

We would like to take this opportunity to expressly thank you for your cooperation with DeinAdieu and would be pleased if you would consider Green Cross Switzerland when drawing up your will. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Dr. Jakob Vetsch, Networking & Fundraising or contact the office directly via email or phone.

You can find more information about the new options here.


SOCMED in Vietnam

SOCMED in Vietnam

The defoliant “Agent Orange”, which was used during the Vietnam War, left behind consequential damage to humans and the environment that persists to this day. Those affected are dependent on help.

Since 1998, the Green Cross Switzerland has therefore been supporting affected regions in Vietnam within the framework of the SOCMED programme (Social and Medical Care and Education) induced by the organisation. The programme guarantees medical, psychological and social support in the form of treatments and therapies, especially for children and young people with severe physical and mental disabilities. Day care centres allow those affected to attend adapted school lessons and participate in play activities. The SOCMED programme also focuses on supporting the production of orthopaedic aids.

In order to be able to continue our work in Vietnam smoothly and with high quality, we depend on your donations. We would be pleased if you would take the time to make a small contribution for the victims of “Agent Orange” in the affected regions in Vietnam.

You can find our video information on SOCMED in Vietnam in German on Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram.


Day of Remembrance for the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

Day of Remembrance for the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

The 26.04.2023 marks the 37th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. At 01:23 on April 26, 1986, radioactive material was released in unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant as a result of a reactor accident. The released material reached Western Europe, but contaminated the surrounding regions the most. To this day, people and the environment in the areas of present-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine suffer from the consequences of this disaster. In addition to the negative health effects caused by the released radioactivity, the reactor accident also led to social and economic neglect in the regions.

As early as the 1990s, Green Cross Switzerland began to implement aid projects for those affected by these man-made disasters in the three heavily radioactively contaminated countries. For this purpose, the SOCMED program (Social and Medical Care and Education) was established, which offers support on a medical, psychological and social level and focuses on “helping people to help themselves”. For example, therapy camps were organized for children and young people, and medical examinations were carried out by the Green Cross Bus in remote villages.

These assistance services could be guaranteed until 2022, but were severely restricted or terminated for the time being due to the war in Ukraine. In the country of the nuclear disaster, no projects can be implemented in the Chernobyl region at the moment due to the war. Nevertheless, Green Cross Switzerland provided urgently needed humanitarian aid to the population there at the beginning of the war, for example by delivering medicine or food. In addition, preparations are again underway in Belarus for Social Gardening, which will be carried out again in 2023. This project aims to make the diet of children from precarious backgrounds more varied, nutritious and healthy by providing fresh vegetables and fruit from social gardens.

The war in Ukraine also led to a reactivation of what happened in Chernobyl. The occupation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant from February 24 to March 31 by the Russian army continues to show the dangers to people and the environment posed by the nuclear power plant. Green Cross Switzerland takes the day of the nuclear disaster as an opportunity to remember the victims and those affected by the reactor accident and the war.


Cooperation with the Charity Project Krong Buk

Cooperation with the Charity Project Krong Buk

Since the beginning of this year, Green Cross Switzerland (GCCH) and the Charity Project Krong Buk (CPKB), founded by Peter M. Jenni and his wife Tran Thi Hiep, have been working together. The focus of this cooperation is on humanitarian aid for families affected by “Agent Orange” until today. The support focuses on the central highlands of Vietnam, in particular, on the Dak Lak province. With this partnership, it is possible to provide individual assistance to families affected by Agent Orange, in addition to the SOCMED program projects already carried out by Green Cross Switzerland.

The CPKB works on a voluntary basis and takes care of the clarifications and expenses on site. Mrs. Tran Thi Hiep and Peter M. Jenni visit the affected families in consultation with the People’s Committee, discuss the required assistance with the family members and are in contact with the authorities in the case of major assistance such as house renovations or roof reconstruction. Through the coordination of CPKB, it can be guaranteed that the assistance supported by GCCH will be implemented efficiently and that the financial means within the framework of this cooperation will fully benefit those in need of help.

First aid services started

In the meantime, one affected person could be financially supported with the help of food money. The 43-year-old woman suffers from mutilations, muscle spasms and is dependent on medical care. She lives together with her 85-year-old mother and the income was not sufficient. Through the cooperation between GCCH and CPKB, the mother together with Ms. Tran Thi Hiep can go shopping once every month at the market worth 1 million Vietnamese Đồng (VND) (about 40 CHF). Through the support, the severely disabled woman and her mother can be provided with food and other necessary goods. In addition, planning is currently underway for the rehabilitation of a house roof belonging to a family severely affected by Agent Orange. The goal is to repair the roof until the next rainy season. Repair work is still underway and should be completed in a month. Furthermore, support has been promised to the family of Mrs. Thoi Thi No in Phuoc An. The daughters Kieu and Chi both have severe disabilities due to Agent Orange. Since the father is also disabled and Mrs. Thoi is busy taking care of the family full-time, she is unable to pursue a job. Recently, the community has made makeshift repairs to the home, but the family was lacking food and diapers. Now the family can be supported with a monthly delivery of basic supplies.

Green Cross Switzerland is looking forward to the further and profitable cooperation with Peter M. Jenni, his wife Tran Thi Hiep and Charity Project Krong Buk!



Clean drinking water for the population in war zones

Clean drinking water for the population in war zones

Although there is enough water in Ukraine, the cleanliness of the drinking water cannot be guaranteed in many places due to the targeted destruction of the infrastructure. This is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, and people with a weak immune system. They are particularly susceptible to dangerous germs in the water and are therefore at increased risk of life-threatening consequences.

Green Cross Switzerland has therefore equipped various public facilities near the front line in Cherson with systems for cleaning heavily polluted drinking water. This equipment comes from the Swiss company Katadyn Group, which specializes in the provision of drinking water solutions in the context of humanitarian aid.

In the course of a first delivery campaign in 2022, ten water treatment systems have already been delivered to the Ukraine. For example, one device was installed in the hospital kitchen of the city of Mykolaiv and another in the Mykolaiv Humanitarian Center. Another delivery campaign started on March 24, 2023 in Switzerland, went via the Czech Republic, Poland and reached Ukraine without incident on March 26. The systems could then be delivered to different locations.

The repair of the systems was not without challenges. Due to a defect in a desalination plant, repairs had to be made, which delayed the deployment somewhat. As a result, it was necessary to find a solution that could fix the defect. With the help of various telephone calls, those involved on site were able to repair the system and additional spare parts and two generators were able to get to the war zone.

Those involved in the relief campaign returned to Switzerland in good health after completing their tasks by April 3 with an impressive result: the campaign guarantees 30,000 people sustainable access to clean drinking water and is therefore an enormous relief for those affected. We would like to thank everyone involved in the operation and look forward to further cooperation in the future!


Our dialoguers in action for people and the environment in Swiss cities

We are proud of our dialoguers for their energetic commitment to people and the environment! They make an indispensable contribution to promoting our cause and are an important part of our commitment for those affected by industrial and military disasters.

Dialoguers are in direct contact and exchange with the population at various locations in Switzerland and inform interested parties about our values, goals and current aid projects. But they do not only fulfill the important role of representing the interests of Green Cross Switzerland and generating new donations. They also collect valuable feedback from the people they meet and talk to every day in public places. This dialogue generates new ideas as well as valuable insights into how our aid projects are perceived by the population.


Committed to victims of Agent Orange for 19 years

The team of Green Cross Switzerland met Dr. Daniel Hueskes and his son Benjamin Hueskes. The two orthopaedists gave insights into their voluntary activities: provision of orthopaedic aids and surgical treatment for children and young adults with disabilities.

Prior to his first journey to Vietnam in 2003, Daniel Hueskes asked his son: «Benjamin, what do you think? Should I do that? » He answered: «Yes, but then you have to give up your holidays. » This is how 19 years ago the cooperation with Green Cross Switzerland began.

Great emphasis was placed on the sustainability of the orthopaedic projects. Based on the experience on a different project, where 30 children were provided with orthoses, only to discover upon the follow-up that none of the aids were on the children’s legs anymore, Daniel Hueskes said to himself in the year 2003:

«No, never again! I want to involve local orthopaedists or orthopaedic doctors, and that the provision is carried out with materials from Vietnam. It is not sufficient to simply use highly technical material. Help for self-help needs to be promoted».

It is important to renew children’s orthoses and prostheses after one year because of children’s rapid growth. «When the person who made the prosthesis is already on site, then they can complete the prosthesis accordingly and make a new cast», says Daniel Hueskes.

Benjamin Hueskes adds: «That is of course the whole point: training the people in Vietnam in such a way so that they can do the fitting themselves, even when we aren’t there. This has already been done before. We just offer support and conduct training. We don’t take stuff from Switzerland. It doesn’t work that way that they request us to make casts and we bring them there. No, we do it together on-site. We support and advise them, but in principle they can do it themselves».

For the most part, the required orthoses and prostheses are produced in Vietnam. This is important because various factors, such as humidity, must be considered. Only in exceptional cases, the Basel-based orthopaedists bring something to Vietnam. Currently they are preparing for a fitting for a young woman. She has no shinbone and  the bones are shortened (verkürzte Knochen). Without a prosthesis she walks on her joint. During the Corona pandemic, she received prostheses, which, however, are very heavy, weighing 3.5 kg. For the first time, she managed to get a job and is happy to lead a self-determined life. Yet, she always has to wear these heavy prostheses at work. In this particular case, two prosthetic foot fittings (Prothesenfüsse-Passteile) will be brought from Switzerland. They are at least one and a half kilos lighter, which will make the young women’s life much easier.

«I wanted to know whether he wanted to live»

Over the course of their voluntary work, Daniel und Benjamin Hueskes have met many people with difficult fates. We asked whether there was a case among the people whom they have met so far in Vietnam, which they remember particularly vividly. “Yes,” Daniel Hueskes answered with deep emotion.

What is Agent Orange?

Agent Orange is a chemical defoliant contaminated with a highly toxic dioxin TCDD. The name comes from the orange stripes, with which the barrels were marked. The American Air Force sprayed a total of 45’677’837 litres between 1962 and 1971, to defoliate the jungle and thus gain a strategic advantage in the Vietnam war. The toxic TCDD persists in the environment for a very long time and can still be found in the soil, water and thus in the nutrition cycle. The toxin causes heritable genetic mutations, deformities and other severe diseases.

Dr. Daniel Hueskes

Already in the 1960s, when thalidomide-related deformities started to surge, Daniel Hueskes had developed and built pioneering orthopaedic aids for children with deformed or missing limbs.

The use of the sleeping pill and tranquilliser, thalidomide, led to a surge of severe deformities and missing limbs and organs in newborns.


Springtime makeover for Green Cross Switzerland

Spring is generally defined as the season of change. Harsh winter is finally behind us, days are getting longer, nature awakens and gives us new energy and lightness. In harmony with nature, we at Green Cross Switzerland also took advantage of the seasonal change to “transform” ourselves – and we started by redesigning our website.

This is the first step of a larger project that aims to broaden digitalisation of our communication processes and achieve immediate and efficient exchange with our donor family. The bright and modern design uses our traditional colors (green and white) and the information is clearly structured. We have also introduced innovative donation methods, including TWINT, credit cards, SMS and the option to create personalized payment slips.

The launch of the new website and the introduction of modern fundraising-tools coincide with the launch of our blog and social media channels. Through regular updates, we want to inform you about our projects and news. Above all, we want to introduce the people involved and tell their stories; only then will you truly realise how important your contribution is.

So, welcome to our new website and…enjoy the read!