Project update – Nea Kavala, 9th November

The Community Centre and Women’s Space are busier than ever! After creating and translating new and improved schedules, we distributed them door to door, and we are happy with our increased attendance, especially from  people towards the back of the camp. For the school-aged children, we distributed school bags full of fun stationery goodies and the kids enjoy showing off their personal pencil cases in class every day.

For our children’s lessons and activities, we have created a new positive reinforcement system, and split the children into groups. When the children practice good behaviour, such as sharing, listening well, working hard etc, their group’s monkey will climb one branch on the tree. When the group reaches the top, everyone in the group may choose a prize from the golden banana box. After going over our classroom rules again, and emphasising them in our lessons regularly, we’re proud to say the children’s behaviour has changed dramatically for the better! The children are pleased to please us and often encourage others in their group to behave better, with the hope of moving up. We’re extremely happy with this shift and are enjoying teaching the children in a calmer classroom environment.

We hope they will continue their good behaviour when they begin again in the local Greek schools, and have improved learning opportunities in any educational context. Many of the children in Nea Kavala have been out of formal education for years, or never attended at all, as they have been on the move for so long. We hope to bridge the gap by providing structure and a safe learning space in the camp, but soon our role will change again as the children attend local Greek schools. As ever we will adjust to the needs, and continue to provide the best support we can, while encouraging attendance of the formal education, as an important part of integration into Greek society.

In other news, We Are Here has partnered with A Drop in the Ocean and Communitere to provide a construction project two days a week on site. As a Community Centre, We Are Here always aims to provide opportunities to cater to a wide range of interests. In the camp, there are people with all sorts of skills and experience, but who are forced to live in a refugee camp, bored and unfulfilled. We’re happy to offer two full days of working with quality tools, using wood, metal and any material available to build just about anything you can think of: benches, tables, shelves, cupboards, boxes, chess boards…the possibilities are endless. These items can be for communal spaces in the camp, or to improve the living container.

Many of the participants so far have proved very knowledgeable and have enjoyed working on their own project, whereas others have benefitted from some guidance and help. Everyone involved is really excited about the opportunity to do something practical, learn new skills and get stuck in doing something different and we’re really happy to facilitate this project. Individually creating something from start to finish, both practical and beautiful, can give such a feeling of fulfilment and pride, as well as being a great distraction from mundane camp life. We hope people learn new, practical skills too, which could help them with future work opportunities.

This particular project requires a lot of on-going funding, particularly for screws, nails, hinges, paint, wood and other pieces of equipment, as well as diesel to transport Communitere’s tool library to and from the camp every week. We will reuse pallets, wood etc as much as possible, but will have to buy a lot of materials too.

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