Beto at the Friedensdorf

Oberhausen, Germany

Refugees and wars forcing people to leave their home countries have been a main topic of international media within the last two years. It almost gets into oblivion that there always have been wars and a majority of the people just doesn’t have the chance to flee because they are too poor, too old, too weak or just too young. And therefore stood invisible in Europe for a long time.

In war zones medical care often collapses completely. For a large part of the population necessary treatment is no longer possible. Complicated operations can not be carried out even years after a conflict because qualified staff and infrastructure are missing. For patients this simply can imply death.

There are also around 230 million children affected by wars worldwide. For the sick and injured among them medical treatment abroad is often the only chance to survive. For the last four years I have been following the work of German NGO Friedensdorf International, an organization founded in 1967, which enables children to get this medical treatment in Germany. Approximately 300 kids arrive each year, currently mainly from Angola and Afghanistan. Countries in which wars have been raging for decades and where the Friedensdorf maintains long and intense contacts.

With my ongoing series I followed the various phases of arrival, treatment in the hospital and life in the children’s home right up to the journey back home and experienced how the children develop in the short time.