Visiting Project Hope 4 Kids

Visiting Project Hope 4 Kids

15 Jun 2018

Fernanda from the INTO Visa team travelled to Greece to work with one of our refugee projects; Here is a diary of her time there...

Monday 4th of June 2018 – Day 1- Arrival, introduction and Jelena House.

I arrived in Ioannina-Greece at 2 pm and Anna, the co-director of the project picked me up from the bus station and drove us to the volunteers’ house in Ioannina. Once I got to the house, she introduced me to the project and talked about some of the rules as well as about the scenarios that we would encounter in the field.

 

Anna has been working for the Hope4Kids project since October 2017 and started in the Filippiada refugee camp, where the project was originally set up. Anna explained the current structure of the project and introduced us to its’ five locations (Jelena House, Nanori house, Community Centre, Filippiada and Harry’s house).  Together, we walked to the Community Centre, a place offering a 9am-7pm children drop-in service.

 

Hope4Kids provides these children with care, recreational activities and non-formal education, including English, Greek and maths.

 

Later in the afternoon, we went to Jelena house, a ‘hotel’ where 6 refuges families are settled until they receive final decision on where/when they will be granted refugee status. Jalena House is located in the outskirts of Ioannina, far from the Community Centre, and is financed by international NGOs.

 

Due to the difficulty in accessing services provided in the city centre, Hope 4 Kids visits twice-weekly to teach maths and English to some of the 18 children. These children are divided into 2 groups, according to age, and do activities that not only teach them practical skills, but also enhance their creativity, support their personal development and help them to stay in touch with education. In addition, some of the children’s mothers also take English lessons once a week.

 

That day, while some of the children were taking maths class, and the second group was doing the refugee day activity. This activity consisted of discussing what their ‘HOPE’ for the future is and then drawing it into a big colourful banner that would be shared by all the refugee kids. One child said they wanted to be a maths teacher and drew a board with numbers and a classroom with a window, which he highlighted was a special feature. Another said he wanted to go to Switzerland and meet his siblings already living there, and drew his family together.

Tuesday 5th of June 2018 – Day 2- Neochori House, Community Centre, football and refugee camp.

On Tuesday morning I went to Neochori House, located in the mountain region, approximately 40 minutes from Ioannina, and met families living in this hotel, again paid for international NGOs.

 

Several families live there and some already have their asylum claim accepted by Germany and elsewhere. This settlement has a room that was transformed into a classroom and the people living there only access it during class time. Three groups of people receive education at Neochori House: the young group, which is between 10-14-years-old, a group of women (mothers) who want to improve their English skills and Hamid, for teenagers.

 

In the afternoon I worked at the Community Centre and assisted Nicol (Greek teacher) during the afternoon when the kids had nap time and did some maths/craft activities. At 18:00 I went to the UNCHR-run refugee camp Agia Eleni to accompany the children that play football from 18:30 until 21:00 in a nearby sports centre.

 

Fifteen children from different nationalities were transported by bus to a sports facility, and after practice they are bussed back to the camp. The refugee camp football practice is under the UNCHR responsibility and Project Hope4Kids supports its work.

 

Wednesday 6th of June 2018 – Day 3- Community centre and Jelena House.

Today I worked from 12pm-16pm at the Community Centre with the young children making name badges, practicing spelling, painting, and learning numbers, vowels and playing games. From 5pm-7pm I did recreational activities with the students at Jelena House – we played with clay, experimenting with new textures and materials, which contributed to the development of their sense of creativity and encouraged them to work as a team.

 

 

Thursday 7th of June 2018 – Day 4- Community centre, volunteers meeting.

My shift at the Community Centre was at 10am-7pm, and after that I went straight to the meeting with Anna, Danielle, and Nicol (Project Hope 4 Kids co-director and volunteers). There I taught/looked after 12 children during the afternoon and I prepared an activity with a rainbow worksheet.

 

In this activity, we talked about the weather and how a rainbow is formed. The students chose the colours to paint their rainbow, and after completing this task they had to spell in writing the colours they used in their worksheet.

 

The volunteers’ meeting is a very good way to gather information about individual students, discuss any incidents that happened during the week and improve the way that the Project Hope 4 Kids works. In the meeting, we listed the improvements we think would suit the class model and talked about the children who are not behaving adequately in the classroom.

 

 

Friday 8th of June 2018 – Day 5 – the Community Centre and the plant!

Time flies and today was my last day volunteering with Project Hope 4 Kids. I spent the day in the Community Centre, re-organising the classroom and looking after the children. Tom, who is a new volunteer, brought some new toys from America, and these toys were a great tool to help students with spelling words.

On my lunch break, I bought a plant for the classroom – which will be part of an activity about plants and nature. The students will also vote for the plant’s name and ‘the watering of the plant’ will be included in the school’s official schedule. Some of the kids spend more than eight hours in the room, and a little bit of green will certainly change the mood of the room and purify the air.

 

 

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