Helfer ohne Grenzen e.V. is a relief organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to refugees, orphans and impoverished families in crisis areas. Our non-profit work extends assistance to all people regardless of their beliefs, gender, race or ethnic background. Helfer ohne Grenzen e.V. is based in Heidelberg, with branch offices in Sarajevo and Zavidovici (Bosnia and Hercegovina) and in Skopje (Macedonia), and we co-operate with other public and civil organisations in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Our projects are carried out by our local staff of voluntary helpers in close co-operation with the social welfare centers. All active helpers in Germany and abroad work on a strictly honorary basis, which enables us to keep administrative costs at a minimum: less than 10% of our funds are used for the upkeep of our offices, the storehouse-cum-Second-Hand shop, and the monthly distribution of sponsorship monies.
Educational Aid for gifted young people to give them the chance of using their skills in building a peaceful society.
Co-operation with a Bosnian Citizens’ Action Committee engaged in planning and implementing the restoration of derelict houses and in other projects serving the public good. This project is specially intended to strengthen a sense of community.
Relief Supplies to Bosnia and Macedonia
Purchase of food and commodities in Bosnia and Macedonia to be locally distributed to people in need.
Local Animal Protection Projects in Bosnia and Macedonia
The breakdown of Communist Yugoslavia lead to a number of armed conflicts culminating in the Bosnian Civil War 1992-1995. In the thick of the war, Helfer ohne Grenzen e.V. started as a private action and was formally organized and founded immediately after the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed in 1995. Ever since, we have remained committed to helping the poorest, first to survive the need and destitution following the war and now to bear the demoralizing effects of shattered communities and an unstable economy. Much has been accomplished in the past, but there is still more that can be done to assist the poorest inhabitants of Europe on their way into a hopefully brighter future.
Child and Family Sponsorships are an effective means to give financial and emotional support where the need is greatest. The persons supported by our organization are chosen by the local Social Welfare Centers. They live in deep poverty, very often they don’t even have enough money to buy food, clothes or shoes, not to speak of books and material for school for the children. Only very few of them get a meagre family pension. At present, more than 200 sponsors, mainly from the Heidelberg area, are connected with an accordant number of children and families in Bosnia and Macedonia. Their monthly pledges of between 25 and 75 € help provide the basics for existence, but what is just as important: knowing that someone cares about their problems gives these children and families new courage to face their lives and to keep up their hope in a better future.
Educational Aid is presently granted to about 20 students who distinguished themselves at school, but did not have the means to enrol at a university. Without financial help they would have no choice but to join the divisions of the unemployed. Once enrolled in our programme, they get their grants on a quarterly basis and are held to inform us regularly on the progress of their studies. Some of our students have already graduated in information technology, sociology, civil engineering. They are keen to use their skills in building the peaceful society their country is so much in need of. We see this project as a contribution towards stability and integration in Europe and wish for many sponsors to join us in the pursuit of this goal. We are frequently approached by schools and other educational institutions with requests for up-to-date teaching material and electronic media, and, with the help of generous donors, we equipped media rooms at two Technical Schools in Sarajevo and Zavidovici.
Unemployment is a major problem in Ex-Yugoslavia. Many factories were destroyed during the war and never re-opened. On the contrary, factories are nowadays deliberately run down to make a bargain in the big privatization game. As a result, thousands of jobs are destroyed leaving thousands of families without income living in inhuman housing conditions.“Veliki Napredak” Citizens’ Action is a very successful new voluntary, non-profit private venture founded by citizens from Zavidovici (BiH) in response to such needs. “Veliki Napredak” (= A Big Step Forwards) draw up plans and calculate the renovation costs on the basis of labour contributed by the beneficiaries themselves, their wider families, friends and neighbours. The costs for the building material is provided by community and government grants and, presently for the most part, by donations from Helfer ohne Grenzen. Labour is organized and supervised by “Veliki Napredak”. In the last year, six houses were restored and are now fit for human habitation again. More houses are in the planning stage, community grants announced, donations kindly required.
Relief Supplies to Bosnia and Macedonia are, sadly enough, still necessary, even though many years have passed since Dayton and in spite of all the help provided by the International Community. By joining forces with other organizations who are still connected to the Balkans Helfer ohne Grenzen economizes on transportation costs.
Purchase of food and commodities in Bosnia and Macedonia to be locally distributed to people in need is yet another of our projects.
Local Animal Protection Projects in Bosnia and Macedonia
In conflict areas, animals suffer no less than humans. Therefore, we also support organizations for the protection of animals and help promote the idea of animal protection.
Donations for Animal Protection are kept on a separate account.
Helfer ohne Grenzen e.V. is a membership corporation, established in 1995, approved and accepted by the tax and revenue office as being non-profit and subject to tax relief.
In 2004 the HoG has been awarded the DZI seal of approval as one of only 220 welfare organizations in Germany.
Donation accounts are with Sparkasse Heidelberg (BankCode: 672 500 20):
General account: 4003003