Updates and field stories

First Drop Academy held on Lesvos

Birgit Hjelmtvedt surrounded by participants at the Drop Acedemy. From the left: Carlos Moreno, Kinga Garrido, Signe Korntved, Andreia Cardoso, Jessica Timmins, Bjørnar Larsen, Swapnil Mindhe, Jeppe Robert Lautsten, Joanna Rich, Nanna Falk. Photo: Knut Bry, Tinagent. 

The second week of September, A Drop in the Ocean held its first Drop Academy in a peaceful environment on the island of Lesvos. The Academy, a leadership training developed by HR- and Emergency Manager Birgit Hjelmtvedt, aims to maintain and strengthen a common understanding of our mission, values, ethics, objectives, tools and guidelines.

A Drop in the Ocean  wants to show gratitude to our volunteer leaders by inviting them to a leadership training. Since the start in 2015, more than 80 volunteers have contributed as leaders and coordinators in Greece. On Lesvos, ten of the current leaders gathered to share their experiences, discuss how to further develop the organisation, and gain new knowledge and skills.

Lesvos is where A Drop in the Ocean first started its mission, helping refugees arriving by boat to the island. It was therefore natural to hold the first Drop Academy here. The participants met at a beautiful monastery – Metochi Study Centre – run and administered by the University of Agder (Norway). The monastery was founded in the 16th century and is dedicated to two Greek Orthodox saints.

Swapnil Mindhe, Volunteer- and Project Coordinator, Athens.

A Drop in the Ocean is currently working at three locations in Greece; Athens, Chios and Nea Kavala in Northern Greece. All destinations were represented at the Drop Academy, in addition to representatives from the Drop-in Centre in Athens.

“The Drop Academy was a very rewarding experience that I would definitely regard as key reason for joining A Drop in the Ocean´s coordinator team”
Swapnil Mindhe.

Birgit, a veteran in HR management, lead the participants through the two-day training. She emphasised the importance of having a common mindset.  This is vital in order to maintain A Drop in the Ocean´s position among refugees, volunteers and stakeholders.

In front: Jeppe Lautsten and Swapnil Mindhe. In the back: Andreia Cardoso and Kinga Garrido.

Through lectures, individual reflection, group work, case studies, role-play and discussions, the participants at the Drop Academy gained new knowledge that will strengthen their roles as leaders.

Participants were happy to have participated at the Drop Academy, and left Lesvos with new motivation, friends and competences. They highlighted the value of coming together to share and discuss different experiences, values and opinions.

The Drop Academy will be available to volunteer coordinators and other leaders of A Drop in the Ocean in Greece.


  1. REPLY
    Andrew Pasini says

    Congratulations on this new project for Drops leaders! Earlier this summer I spent three weeks volunteering in Chios. I had the opportunity to work alongside Kinga Garrido and Joanna Rich as well as other Drops leaders like Mary Allen, Lucy Lindfield and Julie. I was impressed by how all of them welcomed, supported and sustained me and the other volunteers during my stay. I am now back in the United States and am planning to return to Greece in a few months to volunteer again. My positive experience with Drops has led me to consider volunteering in Nea Kavala. I hope the Drop Academy will serve future coordinators who in turn will continue to support the teams. All the best!

Post a comment