SAO Association

for displaced women


Short-term and immediate: At the Bashira Centre, women with and without children who are stuck in the Moria Camp on Lesvos receive the most urgent relief and protection.


Medium-term and integrating: At the Amina Centre in Athens, we support the most vulnerable, the disabled and old women with and without children in their everyday lives.


Long-term and continuing: Back on Track scholarship accompanies women, who had to drop out of studies because of the war, back to training throughout Europe.

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We are all privileged. We have mothers, grandmothers and maybe also daughters or sisters. We are aunt,

godfather, friend or girlfriend. We – women and men – lead a good life in Switzerland and are well networked and connected with many other privileged people. We are committed to women and children on the run who had to leave everything behind. This is our contribution.

Who, if not us?




We work on a short-term, mid- or long-term basis. First and foremost, we meet urgent needs for safety and protection. Our next priority is providing assistance and care as required. Finally, we aim to set the course for the refugees’ futures. We develop and implement projects and support other great projects with a similar focus.


We run the Community- and Empowerment-Centres «Bashira» on Lesvos and  «Amina» in Athens. And we are developping the studies fund for women «Back on Track».


We are devoted to finanancing our programs: «Bashira», «Amina» and «Back on Track» do need your support.  Please donate to provide a new future for women refugees.


We are on-site on Lesvos with our own competent women and distribute first-hand information to you: directly at our events, regularly on our blog and with our newsletter.

«After a first week of volunteering on Lesvos it was obvious to me that I wanted to commit to displaced humans sustainably and on a long term basis.»


Raquel Herzog, SAO founder




Sao women for displaced women is a strong network: we cooperate to increase and concentrate our forces, resources and opportunities to support displaced women, their children and their families. We get together as women because we understand women and because we’re networkers, but also because a meaningful commitment gives energy and nurtures confidence. We are especially committed to displaced women because we often ask ourselves: «What if I were in her place?» Of course, men are also involved with SAO, our commitment is not exclusionary, but a focused.


Eight women form the core team. They use their expertise, experience and networks to carry on and finance the work and programs of SAO.

Introducing >


Experienced women run our programs «Bashira» on Lesvos and «Amina» in Athens, together with their team and long-term volunteers.

Introducing >


SAO was founded in February 2016 and has grown steadily ever since. From an association it transformed to a NGO and from a NGO to a network.

Introducing >



We depend on your donations. It is urgent. We all work as volunteers without a salary and we use the money wisely and carefully. Your contribution helps us to take direct action.

Donate now >


The work of SAO is meant to be sustainable. With your membership, you become part of our efforts and network. We are looking forward to welcoming you to SAO.

Your application  >


You can support SAO in Greece as well as in Switzerland. Are you interested in working with us? Do you have special skills you could contribute? You’ll find more information here.

Take action >


You are important! Please support the work of SAO with a donation, as a member or as a volunteer on the ground. We are equally happy about any other support such as providing us with contacts, know-how, ideas or time you provide us with. In our two women centres – the daycentres Bashira on Lesvos and Amina in Athens – we expect around 50'000 visits a year from a total of more than 1'000 registered women. The operation and the offers in Bashira and Amina cost about 300'000 euros per year. Here is what your donation can do.

«Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.» Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

Human rights – original document >


To get information that explains the procedures for refugees in Greece – mainland or islands –

please follow the link below to RefuComm.

Informations RefuComm >


What is reported in the print media, on the radio or on TV about the work of SAO can be found in our media clippings (in original language).
Interested media 
contact us.


Ida Schmieder took her camera and dedicated her time to portray the work of SAO. In her film you learn more about Bashira Centre.

Watch the video here >



Nowadays, information circulate on a 24h basis. We monitor and collect reports and recount first hand.

SAO Association

Head office

Badenerstrasse 21, CH-8004 Zurich

+41 78 825 80 85 .

Registered CH-5436 Wuerenlos

UID CHE-438.203.855

Zuercher Kantonalbank ZKB

P.O. Box . CH-8010 Zurich

Donations CHF

CH86 0070 0114 8023 0668 5

Donations Euro

CH19 0070 0130 0091 1535 8

Clearing: 700


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