The winter is long and cold. The sun is rare to see. Now, hundreds of refugees in camps outside Thessaloniki are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. And they need our help.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for anyone, and these refugees are particularly vulnerable. They have traveled hundreds or even thousands of kms away from the equator. The north of Greece is grey and dreary and more snow than sunshine. The women in particular wear very modest clothes, and receive little skin exposure to produce vitamin D naturally.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to:
- High risk of osteoporosis and broken bones
- Lowered immunity and higher risk of infection
- High risk of rickets and bone deformities in children
- Bone pain and muscle weakness
- Higher risk of depression
- Worsening of current depression
- Higher risk of cancers
- Dental conditions
- Increased risk of pregnancy complications
All of these can cause massive problems for anyone, let alone a refugee. In fact, vitamin D could mean the difference between life and death - a single bad infection could kill the vulnerable if it's not attended to. A complication in pregnancy could mean loss of the infant.
Not all is lost. We have been able to source some vitamin D supplements - but not enough to help the camp we are going to. We have made a contact who can help discount the supplements we need, but we still need enough to buy around 200 bottles, including liquid form for babies and children to take safely.
This is where we need your help. Less than $11 Euro, or $15 Aussie, can provide someone in a camp with enough vitamin D to keep them safe through the rest of winter. While we work in the camp, we will be educating the people how to boost their vitamin D levels, so they can increase their own health and well-being.
Photo credit to Jason from www.believeinacause.org