19886610_6073008721638_8719735616150962176_n

Things have been extremely busy over the last few weeks for We Are Here, with lots of extra work to do. We are very fortunate that working together with personal contacts, as well as the wider Northern Greece volunteer community, many of our team have been able to attend training sessions to improve our work. Recently these have included topics such as Teaching English, Legal Information, First Aid, as well as advice on more sensitive issues such as Trauma and Psychological First Aid. Many thanks to all who have given up time to help us be better at what we do!

Learning about the legal processes of seeking asylum in Europe, we heard some interesting news about Family Reunification in Germany. Although it’s always been a slow process, Germany has been reunifying over 300 families a month, and has recently lowered that figure to 70. This means that families may have to wait another three years in Greek limbo, until they are finally allowed to go to their families in Germany, if they are accepted at all. We’ve learned that living like this: waiting for months and years with little hope, independence or control over your own life, can be as traumatising as the awful events which forced people to flee their homes in the first place. Mobile Info Team has begun a petition to send to the German Interior Minister, which they hope will draw attention to the situation and hopefully put pressure on Germany. Please, sign and share widely! https://www.change.org/p/family-reunification-from-greece-l…

We are in full Ramadan swing here, with people not eating or drinking during daylight hours. For We Are Here, this means being sensitive to people’s new schedules of prayer and rest, especially in the summer heat we are already experiencing here. The weather conditions encourage people to stay inside their air-conditioned containers, where they may feel most comfortable. We have adjusted the schedule to Ramadan requests, but are still experiencing a lull in numbers at the moment. Still, with our new ideas, techniques and resources for teaching, those who attend lessons and workshops are hopefully receiving better quality teaching, catered more for them.

This Satartday was another great success, of wool weaving for the older children, and threading cut-up straws to create a bead curtain for the pre-fives. We made individual wool decorations, as well as worked communally on an on-going gigantic version of the same. Everyone was impressed how well their creations turned out, and enjoyed concentrating on the intricate workings of hand-eye coordination. Last week we made a large drum/shaker/loud thing with the older children and individual hand shakers with the younger children.

Almost all the children (and adults) are now from the ‘new arrivals’, moving to the camp since March. It takes some time to get to know them, and for them to become accustomed to the routine, but we seem to be getting there. Especially for our newest residents, we are working on an Info Point in the library, with information about local Greek and camp services. We hope such things as maps of Greece and Europe, local bus timetables, opening hours of important shops etc. will empower people with their daily routines.