Project update – Nea Kavala, 20th June 2017



We Are Here has had some great fun with activities and events recently. Local schools are over for the long Greek summer holiday, so there are plenty of children around again. Also the last of the people who have been in camp for over a year are starting to move on with their asylum cases and leave the camp. It seems like every other day we are saying goodbye to old friends. There is a small but steady flow of new refugees to the camp every week, moving into the containers of those who have left.

This week is our theatre group´s big performance in Polykastro theatre, and there will be another performance in the camp itself. The group has been working hard on creating a new piece with Paramythades and it´s great to see people enjoying themselves while being creative. All of this taking place during Ramadan has made things more difficult, but shows just how dedicated the actors are! We Are Here are looking forward to watching the show in a few days.

Paramythades have also performed a few times to the delight of our camp audiences! First there was a comedy concert in our Open Community Space, where they had to compete with a huge summer storm in order to be heard over the wind, rain and thunder. And on Saturday there were two mini circus shows in the children´s area of the library. Many thanks to Paramythades for providing some comic relief to the children, in addition to all their other work!

In other news, our English classes are a great success as many students advance through our levels. Many of our Literacy students can read and write well enough now that the focus of the class has shifted to Beginners English. And many of our Beginners have improved so much, they are no longer Beginners, and so on. We are really pleased at the progress of our students, and hope they feel a sense of achievement themselves.

English language skills can really change your possibilities in a new country. Especially with no prior knowledge of which country you will go to, English as a world language really comes into its own. It is often difficult for our English teachers to find sensitive resources, considering the background of many of our students. We have recently discovered simplified versions of National Geographic, which are a great hit as stimulating and interesting topics of interest.

This week for children´s sports, we made an exciting assault course which the kids loved. They had to climb through the spider´s web, jump through the hoops, dunk their head in a bowl of water and pick up an apricot with their mouth and move it to another bowl, knock over a coloured water bottle with a ball, smash a water balloon with a tennis racket, balance along a beam and tag the next person in the team. Phew! It was an especially fun day of sports, watching the mini circus show and drawing our favourite part of the mini circus.

On Sunday there was a friendly football tournament out of camp for refugees and local Greeks, so the kids created some posters and pompoms to cheer on their fellow Nea Kavala residents. We hope this kind of activity helps create a community feeling among the camp residents.

And finally, the Women´s Space has had an upgrade in equipment in the form of looms and sewing machines! Every week the women enjoy a creative morning of handicrafts, and have the opportunity to adjust their ill-fitting donated clothing. We are happy to be able to offer sewing again as a creative and practical activity, and hope it helps boost the women´s autonomy and self-sufficiency.

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