A Drop in the Ocean has been present in Skaramagas refugee camp outside Athens since 2016. It has been the largest camp on mainland Greece and was well-functioning in terms of management and day-to-day operations. When the Greek government announced the closure of the this and other camps close to the capital in April, our team on the ground looked for other ways to support displaced persons in the region.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, opening a new space in Athens would be difficult and we found that the best solution was to offer our services to an organisation that already has an internal influx of participants to their spaces, such as Caritas Athens.
Caritas is the recognised charitable organisation of the Catholic Church, established in 1978 to fight poverty and injustice and to support every person in need, regardless of nationality, race, language, religion, age, or gender. Caritas Athens supports displaced persons through a range of activities including accommodation, food distributions, financial support, provision of food and basic necessities, psychosocial support, consultations, educational and recreational activities for children and adults, events for social inclusion and job placement, and full support for recognised refugees to find accommodation and work.
A Drop in the Ocean will run activities in the common spaces of Caritas Athens for beneficiaries of the Integration and Accommodation programmes Helios and Hestia, implemented and supported by Caritas Athens.
Activities in Athens
Activities run by A Drop in the Ocean will focus on our programme areas Community Empowerment Mobilisation (CEM), Integration Support, and Non-Formal Education.
Activities within the CEM programme area will include emotional management trainings, first aid training, self-defence classes, sewing and tailoring, child friendly space, and youth space, as well as activities related to cooking techniques and multicultural recipe exchange.
Within the programme area Integration Support, A Drop in the Ocean will organise seminars and workshops on employability and professional development, training for translators and interpreters in collaboration with the organisation RefugeeEd, CV and cover letter writing courses, interview preparation, and Info Hub. We will also organise English and IT classes following our teaching curriculum used in other locations, as part of our Non-Formal Education programme area.
“If we work on social fragility, we work in hostile and fragile environments. We must make ourselves doors for those who do not want to enter these environments; we look for resources, not shortcomings; we bring care and beauty. Thus, our educational interventions build communities,” says Silvia, our Site Coordinator in Athens.