Much has happened since the end of 2021: from the development of the ¡Ojalá! app, now available on Google Play, to AFE leaving Chios after 4 years, here are the highlights of the past 3 months.
¡Ojalá! is now available for download
After months of developing and testing ¡Ojalá!, the world’s first Spanish language learning app for people on the move, we are very happy to announce that itis now available for download on Google Play! We want to thank all of you involved: to those of you who donated to us through the fundraising campaigns, those who have shared our work amongst your own circles, and to the incredible team of volunteers who contribute their time, energy and expertise. But there is still much to be done: we must now ensure that the app reaches its users, and we can only achieve this with your help.
We are now starting the pilot phase. The aim of this phase is to test ¡Ojalá! with potential users and gather their feedback to continue improving the application and to ensure that it meets the needs of refugees and migrants arriving in Spain. To achieve this aim, two different courses of action have been taken:
- We are conducting workshops with the NGOs that manage the refugee camps on the Canary Islands to introduce ¡Ojalá! to their team members.
- We hosted a webinar for ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) teachers and social workers who work directly with refugees and migrants across Spain.
The participants of these events have committed to support us with the testing of ¡Ojalá! and the collection of feedback to ensure a smooth and successful roll out of our pilot phase.
Continuing our activities at The Nest in Athens
The end of 2021 saw many changes happening at The Nest. Moved from the Greek island of Samos to the Greek mainland in May, due to people on the move staying on the island for a shorter period of time, The Nest has been thriving since it arrived in Athens.
In 2021, 137 children from 72 families were registered. We started providing English language lessons in May and quickly added German language lessons in November, by popular demand.
In August, we launched the new Art project in collaboration with PILA and their partners. Art is currently offered 4 days a week, 11am - 6pm for all the sessions. Since December, we have opened extra hours two times a week (Tuesday and Thursday 4-6pm) for children above the age of 7.
COVID regulations are still implemented in the centre to insure safe conditions. Everyone above the age of 6 has to wear a mask and the groups are smaller. We limited the children’s attendance to the age group of 2-7 years, except from the art 4pm art class.
In December, we organised our first workshop with Action for Education’s partners Acupuncturists Without Borders. The workshop was about reflexology and massage techniques for babies and children. The families were shown practices that can improve sleep, favour relaxation, reduce crying, help with congestion, gas and colic, and strengthen the bond between mothers and children. Massage and reflexology can be a great way to help improve pains and trauma.
After four years of presence and 6 projects, we left the Greek island of Chios, the birthplace of AFE.
Despite a growing number of people arriving on the island in the past months, arrivals in January 2022 have increased by 51% (according to the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum), the space for running educational programmes or even a community centre has decreased over the past months, for a number of reasons. The most important are COVID restrictions as well as people not being able to access our services for a long enough time frame to really benefit from them due to the fact that they move on from the island within just 1-2 months.
So as the communities and with them the need for our services continue to shift from the islands to the Greek mainland, we aim to do the same. Within the next months will be working on implementing our teaching models and curricula in existing community centers, as well setting up safe spaces for people on the move to learn, develop new skills, or just find a moment to rest their mind.
We still need you to support education for people on the move!
From the pilot phase of ¡Ojalá!, to the continuation of The Nest project and the opening of our new sports and language learning centre for young women in Athens, we still need your help!
By donating to us, you will contribute to providing essential educational services to people on the move. This will help them go through their asylum application process and other administrative and health procedures.
Visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to read our latest news
Thank you for your support!
German lessons at The Nest
Art project at The Nest
Ojala! pilot phase starts
Ojala! is now available for download