Wellness Advocates help provide basic necessities for refugees in Lesvos, Greece, by working with dōTERRA Europe, the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, and the NGO Because We Carry.

To aid in one of the largest crises in Europe since the World Wars, Germany has taken in over one million refugees in an attempt to combat the current refugee situation. The Island of Lesvos, Greece, is the closest geographic point for many asylum seekers, and has become a focus point for many refugees coming first to Turkey and then to Europe. Over 90,000 people have travelled to Lesvos from Turkey in the past year, which is more than the entire local population of 86,000.

Refugees travel from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and even Africa looking for solace.  When they finally arrive in Lesvos, they are often wet and freezing.  Volunteers walk the shores of Lesvos every day, watching for boats trying to make their way across the Strait of Mytilini (between Turkey and Lesvos). These volunteers meet the refugees at the shore and tend to their immediate needs. 

Steffi de Pous of the Netherlands is one of these great volunteers. In 2015, she left Amsterdam for Lesvos and has dedicated her life to seeing to the needs of these people. In addition to volunteering her time walking the shores, Steffi created the non-governmental organization (NGO) Because We Carry, which provides food, clothing, and supplies to these refugees. The NGO also provides resources to the two main refugee camps in Lesvos. 

The first camp ensures that all refugees are processed, accounted for, and vetted. The camp is crowded, and can sometimes be hostile since people are scared and emotionally drained.  Steffi does her best to create a cohesive environment in this camp and works with government officials to provide clothing and other basic necessities to the refugees as soon as they arrive.  

The second camp is where families are set up in ”pop up” houses. This camp has a little school, garden, and playground to help create a sense of community for refugees as they are trying to make a home for their families. They support one another in this camp while they are doing their best to cope with their situation despite such dire circumstances. 

In early December 2016, doTERRA Europe organized a humanitarian trip to Lesvos with the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation to participate in Steffi’s amazing work. doTERRA Wellness Advocates prepared meals, played games, sorted clothing, and shared oils with the 1,100 refugees in these camps. The members attending this trip taught some of the translators about the uses of essential oils, and then moved among 200 tents showing families how Wild Orange essential oil can be used to uplift the mind and body. 

The refugees embraced the volunteers and welcomed these wonderful gifts.

“When you come from a place of abundance,” says Murray Smith, Managing Director doTERRA Europe, “and then find yourself face-to-face with those who have little or nothing, it can truly humble you, if you allow yourself to be humbled. It was heavenly to be among the children, to play with them, to talk to them and to see how happy they are despite their circumstances.  This is all because someone has just loved them. The little children of the camp came running when they saw us. They wrapped their arms around us. They hugged us and they didn’t even know us. They were just so happy to have someone there to play with them and to help brighten their day. It was magical. They saw the light and they wanted to be a part of it.”

doTERRA Europe hopes to be involved in the building of a permanent community center in the second camp, anticipated to cost 25k Euro, where families will be able to gather as a community for activities, clothing distribution, and other needs. Steffi de Pous and Because We Carry have already committed 15k Euro to this project. 

Ongoing humanitarian expeditions to Lesvos are also anticipated to continue, providing Wellness Advocates the opportunity to work on this refugee project with doTERRA Europe, the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation in Europe, and Because We Carry. Wellness Advocates have already donated essential oils—including Wild Orange, doTERRA Balance®, doTERRA On Guard®, Lavender, Melaleuca, and Purify—in anticipation for the next trip, scheduled for January 2017.


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