project informaation

Project Yolanda - current updates

YOLANDA-update no.4 - Jan 2, 2014

...back from the Philippines...


YOLANDA-update no. 2 - Nov 18, 2013

Regarding the need for financial assistance…

As mentioned in our first call for donations, I have been to Philippines several times since 2008, working as a trauma therapist with several groups of PECOJON (PEACE AND CONFLICT JOURNALISM NETWORK) journalists and their families. The last occasion was in April 2012 together with my partner Sarah who is a medical doctor – after the flooding caused by typhoon Sendong/Washi on civil-war stricken Mindanao in December 2011 which affected many journalists and their families directly.

We are constantly in touch with PECOJON personnel, first and foremost with Ms. Ledrolen Manriquez, Chief of Operations  for PECOJON Philippines. This way, we keep informed about the complex situation within the country, which is omplicated in a political sense as well as with regard to the various natural disasters which have been occurring at an increasing frequency (just barely a month before Haiyin/Yolanda, the island of Bohol where we used to set up our trauma clinics was struck by a major 7 point earthquake that caused massive destruction).

Due to these recent incidents, Ledrolen asked us if we could possibly arrange to come soon in order to stabilize the fellow PECOJON journalists who are not only out and about covering the extent of the disaster as well as the progress (or lack thereof) of relief efforts, but are at the same time accompanying and working with relief operations as unsalaried volunteer helpers. This “stabilization” includes psychotherapy-based interventions regarding the witnessed traumatizing events, treatment of somatic injuries and diseases acquired during the operations, as well as the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, depression, panic attacks and emotional instability.

 We have therefore started collecting financial assistance from our personal friends and families, in order to set up a post-Yolanda PTSD clinic. With these funds, we want to cover expenses for transportation and short-term on-site accomodation for the patients who lack personal funds for medical treatments. Furthermore, we will bring clinic equipment for diagnostics and physical treatment such as acupuncture needles, a mobile pharmacy unit including homeopathic as well as allopathic medicine, medical tapes etc. This setup has proven itself to be useful in 2012, but since we expect a much larger number of participants this time, we won’t be able to cover all expenses exclusively from our own personal funds this year.

We will cover our own expenses including the flights. This means that 100% of the donations will directly benefit the trauma clinic and the patients.

At this time, it is hard to estimate exactly how much money is needed. In addition to the clinic, we would also like to directly support affected families since some journalists are reported to have died while on duty during the storm, leaving behind children and families whose housing and belongings are now destroyed and who have lost their main provider.

In early 2014, we are planning to found KAIROS as a registered initiative associated with our practice for physical and mental health. This will facilitate further activities as well as the distribution of larger funds in Philippines as well as in other target countries.

Further information about our practice, our projects and activities can be found at

Bank details:
GERMANY:  Matthias Witzel, Volksbank Mittelhessen, IBAN DE95 5139 0000 0024 2567 07, BIC  VBMHDE5F,  designation: „Yolanda“
SWITZERLAND: Matthias Witzel, MIGROS Bank, IBAN CH91 0840 1016 6054 4740 0, designation: „Yolanda“
(from other countries than the above, feel free to use either connection.)

KAIROS project "Yolanda"

                                                                                              Buseck, Germany, Nov 12, 2013
Dear Friends,
We kindly ask for your support for our upcoming humanitarian mission to Philippines.
We'll go in December.... (and yes, we're skipping Christmas.)
At direct request from a Philippine-based NGO, we will set up a
PTSD* Prevention and Therapy Clinic for Helpers and Survivors Affected by YOLANDA
*post traumatic stress disorder

After Yolanda, the most severe typhoon in recorded history, made landfall in Philippines on Nov 7th, 2013, our help was requested by PECOJON, a Philippine-based network of conflict-sensitive journalists Matthias Witzel has been working with since 2008, offering clinics, workshops and seminars on the handling of stress and trauma. In 2012, after flash floods on the civil war-beaten island of Mindanao had claimed several hundred casualties, we held three workshops and clinics at different venues in Mindanao, for the first time supplementing the psychotherapeutic interventions with medical treatments and informational talks on the physiological aspects of stress and trauma and how they can be overcome.
For two days, the terrifying pictures of YOLANDA’s aftermath have been going around the globe, while our friends in Philippines have been fighting alongside international organisations sent to rebuild infrastructure, distribute food supplies, and to provide medical help and information to those in need, while oftentimes being affected themselves, having lost their homes and counting casualties in their family circles. So the question remains, what will become of those helpers after the worst is over, and how they will be able to cope with the immediate exposure to destruction and desolation and the experience of their own helplessness in the face of total disaster – and if, and how, they will even be able to cope that long.

We will therefore travel to the affected areas in mid-December to set up a PTSD prevention and therapy clinic in order to support helpers as well as survivors of the YOLANDA crisis, so that apart from regaining control over the most basic material aspects of life, they will have the opportunity to receive treatments and empowerment to work through the psychological aspects of this crisis, and to emerge without lasting mental, psychosomatic or physical impairments.
At this moment, we would kindly like to ask for your support of our outreach in order to help the people regain control of their lives shattered by YOLANDA.

As this is a private initiative, every donation, however small, will directly benefit our work with the typhoon victims. We will keep you updated via our homepage and/or via mailing list. If you have any questions regarding this project, or the KAIROS initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly via e-mail.

Sarah & Matthias
Bank details:
GERMANY:  Matthias Witzel, Volksbank Mittelhessen, IBAN DE95 5139 0000 0024 2567 07, BIC  VBMHDE5F,  designation: „Yolanda“
SWITZERLAND: Matthias Witzel, MIGROS Bank, IBAN CH91 0840 1016 6054 4740 0, designation: „Yolanda“
(from other countries than the above, feel free to use either connection.)
World wide web:
Homepage: „NEWS“)
E-mail: praxis-kairos[SQM]


March 2012: Together with PCOJON Philippines:
Stress and Trauma Workshops in Mindanao:  for  War Journalists and victims of the SENDONG inscident:

October 4, 2011: NEWS from ECCC in Cambodia:

Cebu/Philippines, April 5, '11:
This madonna will be in Sant Agata soonest:

Sant Agata, March 22:

The180 year old olive-tree arrived in our garden...

See also at:  data/Olivenbaum_im_Garten.pdf

March 25, 2011: Baroque Recital in Brunnen/ Switzerland:

Bachophilia Brunnen and friends will once again perform a charity concert
with music from the baroque era to support an orphanage in Phnom Penh/Cambodia

Please have a look at the GERMAN page:

April 2011 in the Philippines and in Indonesia:
Psycho-educational and psychotherapeutic trainings
for stressed and/or traumatized conflict sensitive journalists

See training schedule: