Project update – Nea Kavala, 8th May 2018

We’re always busy, but it seems somehow we’re even busier than usual these days, and with fieldwork always taking priority over updates, there’s a lot to catch up on!

Our Child-Friendly Space for children aged 1-3 has come along very well since its humble beginnings in January. The room is nicely decorated as a natural environment and there are various ways to play, learn and be creative in the space. The children are thriving in the kindergarten, and when they have lots of energy, they love playing outside too. A recent addition to the kindergarten is a sandpit outside the Community Centre. Many thanks to Drop in the Ocean, who are invaluable partners in getting stuff done in the camp that we don’t have the time/skills to do! In their community wood workshop, they built the large box and painted it bright colours, the dumper truck came with the sand, and the children have been in it ever since!

Over the past month, there has been a huge increase in the camp population. Around a quarter of the camp now comprises of unregistered people who have not been moved into the camp officially, but are squatting in empty containers or living with friends. Many of these people have fled their homes in Syria very recently due to attacks on their city or province: many are Kurdish people from Afrin who were in that dangerous environment just weeks ago. As they are unregistered in the camp, they continue to live an uncertain life, not yet provided with official accommodation or money to buy food. The children have the right to attend the local schools, but are still waiting for the bureaucratic process of registration to be completed. We Are Here is doing our best to provide more for these children until they can attend their regular school, and many of the adults are attending our classes and activities too. We hope the newcomers can find a way to feel safe in their new environment, and settle in as much as possible despite the difficult circumstances.

With the new arrivals, we have a lot of new women attending the Women’s Space. Our English lessons are very popular, and we have come up with some new activities after discussions and feedback from the women. We’ve been going on walks and picnics with the women to get some fresh air and to get out of the camp. The women enjoy these weekly excursions, although the summer sun may become too much for this activity soon. Another well-attended workshop is computer literacy where the women can learn some basic computing skills: word, emails, spreadsheets… Hopefully the women can start here and develop their abilities to become more employable in their new lives.

Also in the Library we run Computing Classes four days a week for mixed adults. In these workshops, people can start from whatever level they are at and progress in their own time over hours, days, weeks, months…We hope to develop this programme to include online courses too. Life after camp can be daunting, and many people are worried about their employment options in Greece. But we hope these sessions can help people work on their CVs, study courses, and make a good start any way they can.

Another new activity we offer for adults is football training four days a week. This is extremely popular with the guys in camp, and it’s great to see a big mix of people taking part and playing together. We’re really pleased to offer sports for adults again, as it’s a great way to let off steam, and football seems to be a great facilitator in integration – everyone loves it! Many thanks to Drop in the Ocean who have provided us with some sports donations, including new footballs and goalposts.

In other news, we had a visit recently from Storytelling Without Borders who partnered with Lighthouse Relief to provide some stop motion workshops in the Community Centre. We ran separate workshops for children and adults and everyone had a great time getting creative and making their own films. First we watched a short film and discussed the basics of filmmaking, then everyone was free to work alone or in groups on their own film. There was lots of material available, like clay, paper, small toys, backdrops and tablets to take the photos, put them all together and record audios too. Everyone had a great time, and many people were interested in working on stop motion films in their own time and were shown how to do so with an app. We hope to show the films at one of our cinema screenings soon so everyone can see our filmmakers’ hard work.

Last winter, We Are Here ran some workshops on Emotional Intelligence in the Women’s Space and with the children thanks to Six Seconds’ Pop-Up Festival. Many people around the world have hosted these emotional intelligence pop-up festivals, but they want to encourage more people to get involved. An interview with We Are Here about the workshops we ran, can be read here: http://www.6seconds.org/…/boxes/mini-pop-box-may-growing-c…/
We thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Pop-Up Festival and hope we inspire you to host some emotional intelligence workshops within your local community!

Thanks for reading everyone! Remember all of We Are Here’s work is supported only through donations, so please help us continue all of our activities by donating to our fundraising page:
https://www.gofundme.com/weareherecentre

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