Herbalists Without Borders features a global chapter on this blog regularly so you can get to know the wonderful groups and volunteers that make up HWB. All chapters are organized and managed by volunteers, and they fill unique but critical roles in their communities.
For our first featured chapter, we introduce you to Corfu, Greece. This is an active, vibrant chapter making a difference in their community!
Herbalists Without Borders, Corfu Chapter
What is your chapter name, and what region do you serve?
Our Chapter’s name is Herbalists Without Borders, Corfu Chapter. We are located on the island of Corfu in northwest Greece and we basically work on the island and the nearby mainland part of Greece, which is called Epirus.
How many members do you have in your group?
For the moment, we are 10 ladies since our Chapter has only a few months life. All of them are creative and active members of the local community with plenty of experience in different fields relative to herbalism, activism and voluntary work.
Who is your main coordinator?
The main coordinator is Eleni Christoforatou.
Do you have any projects you wish to share - what you made, who you worked with, and how it benefit your community?
We came together as a group just before Christmas.
Our first project was called “Make a tree for the birds” and it was a workshop for kids and parents at the 1st Primary School in Corfu Town. We spoke about the different needs we all have as seasons change and we made a tree with decoration that could be eaten by the wildlife living around the school while the school was closed for the Christmas holidays. The unexpected cold and snow we had this winter gave a special touch to this workshop.
This is not a typical herbal project, for sure! For us, it was an “honor our roots project” since many of our members first came together in bird conservation projects on the island and stepped into herbalism after many long hours in nature doing bird protection work. Nature conservation will always be part of our work, no matter what part of nature it concerns.
In February, we visited the High School at the village of Kastellani in Central Corfu. The students there have formed an Environmental Education Group which is studying traditional herbal medicine in Corfu. We spoke with the students about the way their grandparents were using herbs and we made calendula salves that they could take at home and get familiar with its use.
Once a week, we have an herbal medicine making workshop for our members. We come together and we make medicine for ourselves and for our herbal apothecary trying new recipes and researching new topics.
Does your region face any unique needs?
Corfu shares the everyday reality in Greece which under the present financial and political situation is unemployment, violation of all rights, poor health care services, poor educational opportunities and poverty for the most part of the population.
Do you have any special plans or goals for 2017?
We have scheduled a number of free workshops to different villages in Corfu in association with the local cultural societies in order to ensure everyone’s access in herbal knowledge for family and self-care.
We will participate at the 1st Experience Holistic Corfu Festival in June with plenty of free workshops and an informational desk.
We have a cooperation with the organization Terre des Hommes in Epirus to provide a one week long herbal training to one or two female refugees from Ioannina. The ladies will stay with us for a week and will attend an intensive herbal training that will be open to the locals as well, on Herb Identification, Foraging, Herbal First Aid, Herbal Remedies for Colds and Flu and other things that can help them relieve common ailments in their community. This training can be repeated again in autumn with the same persons or other persons, so that more and more
refugees will be able to use the herbs growing in their new place of living for self and family care.
What do you enjoy most about your HWB chapter or HWB International?
Current members of our Chapter have a long history of coming together and implementing projects to create the world we would love to live in. This world already exists for our small herbal community and is full of love, laughter and creativity. We hope that this small community will be able to embrace more and more people and spread this amazing energy all over the island.
We love to be part of a global herbal family and we are looking forward to welcome herbalists from other parts of the world in Corfu, as well as take part in international delegations and work hand in hand with the other Chapters to secure every one’s right in health care and wellbeing.