Opening Ceremony Diavata camp

Article written by IRO KELESIDOU
Read the original article in the Inzone’s website.

A few days ago I was volunteering at the blood donation which organized by the French NGO Waha International, at their headquarters located in the center of Thessaloniki. Donating blood was something I have thought about numerous times however I feared that I would faint at the sight of blood.

Unfortunately, I am not the exception but the rule. In Greece giving blood is a problematic issue and one that needs attention. Our country according to the National organization of health, has one of the lowest places in blood donation around the world. Research carried out in 2011 indicated that less than 50% of blood transfusions derived from volunteer blood donors.  Furthermore another recent investigation indicates that in Greece, a large percentage of population is not aware of the blood banks and their positive effects to society. This creates an opportunity for an educational and awareness campaign as only 0,65% of the population are blood volunteers.


My experience at WAHA’s blood donation, not only has overcome my fear but it has also made me aware of the importance and significance of donating blood on a regular basis. I felt that this experience was very rewarding as I was making a contribution supporting people in need.

The following conversation with the coordinator of the NGO Mrs. Masa Misic, assisted me to understand the benefits and the barriers of why people are not donating blood and how we can overcome these obstacles.

Mrs. Masa Misic has been working for ten years as public relation advisor for the Serbian Government as well as she was an activist at numerous NGOs and she was dealing with the problematic issues of Serbian society. From 2015 she joined WAHA’s International team as a project manager for the Balkan Region during refugee crisis and then she came to Greece on a position of field coordinator for North Greece Mission.

Why an NGO decided to organize a volunteering blood donation?

Αs a humanitarian NGO our fist aim is to provide help to people in need. In Greece we are working on a mission regarding refugees and more specifically we provide medical help at five camps in North Greece. After almost two years, we asked ourselves what we are able to do to help Greek community in general. The first idea was to organize a blood donation among NGO’s members. It was our way to say thank you to the Greek society.

Did you organize the process in cooperation with a Greek hospital?

Actually we cooperate with AXEPA hospital and their assistance was mandatory in order to implement our idea. Moreover I have to highlight that our medical coordinator Dr Valia Papagewrgiou as a hematologist had a vital role in the process and the practical organization of our act.

Why do you believe that people avoid to participate in blood donations?

To be honest I don’t know exactly however I suppose that the main problem is that the majority of people is not aware regarding the blood donation procedure. They believe that everything which is connected with the blood can cause diseases and I think this is one of their fears. But these theories are not connected with the reality. You should keep in mind that you are able to help somebody in emerge need and in my opinion this can overcome your fears.

Could you please highlight the benefits of giving blood?

The first which comes to my mind and perhaps the most important is that with this painless procedure you can help somebody who needs blood in a critical moment. This is your opportunity to be a human.

Article written by IRO KELESIDOU
Read the original article in the Inzone’s website.

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