Action for Education: Back to School

by Action for Education
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
Action for Education: Back to School
A child playing at The Nest in Athens
A child playing at The Nest in Athens

Dear Back to School donors,

 

With your help, we have raised 9.120€. Thanks to your contribution, we have reached our goal and were able to reopen our schools and projects after the start of the pandemic. Now that this objective is fulfilled, we will be closing this campaign. 

But there is still much to be done to provide access to education for people on the move. This campaign might close, but AFE’s mission continues. Therefore, we would like to invite you to support our current projects in Greece and Spain by donating to our latest GlobalGiving campaign:  Support Education for People on the Move. This will allow us to continue our current projects in Greece and Spain, and to develop new ones in 2022. 

 

In 2021, COVID-19 continued to pose additional challenges to our work. The pandemic still has an impact on the shape of our projects, and the effects can be seen across our centres through smiling eyes above masks and continued social distancing. In addition to the global pandemic, the political developments this year such as the increasing numbers of illegal pushbacks documented, the construction and opening of several closed camps and the shift of asylum seekers and refugees from the “hotspot” islands to the Greek mainland, posed further challenges to our vision to provide access to safe spaces and education.

However, our energy and spirit have continued to outshine each difficulty and barrier that has come our way. The restrictions in place did not stop our teams from maximising our services and channelling our energy into future plans!

 

To adapt to asylum seekers and refugees being moved from the islands to the mainland, we relocated The Nest from Samos to Athens in May. There, The Nest has  continued to be a thriving space for refugee families to come and feel safe. We have introduced English and German language classes, opened an Art Project and held reflexology and massage sessions for babies and children with our partner, Acupuncturists Without Borders. We are excited to continue all of this in 2022!

At The HUB on Chios, we started adapting our curriculum into a 6-week crash-course, since the participants are staying for a shorter period on the island.  A new social service programme helps asylum seekers and refugees to navigate the fast changing Greek procedures. 40 people come each month for this service. We have also added German language classes in addition to our existing English lessons.

In Spain, we ended the year with a smile on our faces testing the first version of ¡Ojalá! the world’s first Spanish learning application designed for people on the move. There is still a lot of work to be done but we have come a long way.

 

In 2021, the support from our volunteers, donors and partners has been phenomenal. Whether you have helped us on the ground, donated from afar or spread the word about our work, we feel truly lucky to have such a supportive community behind us. We look forward to a thriving 2022 for education, with your help!

A volunteer and a child playing at The Nest
A volunteer and a child playing at The Nest
Children playing with a volunteer at The Nest
Children playing with a volunteer at The Nest
Social service programme at The HUB on Chios
Social service programme at The HUB on Chios
A class at The HUB on Chios
A class at The HUB on Chios
An IT class at The HUB on Chios
An IT class at The HUB on Chios
Presenting Ojala!
Presenting Ojala!
Presenting Ojala! (1)
Presenting Ojala! (1)
Ojala! meeting in Tenerife
Ojala! meeting in Tenerife

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This quarter has been a whirlwind, changes have appeared around every single corner. The past three months are characterized by both organisational and political changes.

August marked the end of our Co-Directors time with us, Solange Würsten and Jacob Warn. We would like to thank them both for their commitment, time, and masses of work and energy that they have each invested in the past 3 years, to make Action For Education the organisation that we are today. We wish them the very best of luck for their future endeavours.

Towards the end of this quarter, the doors were closed for the last time of two projects across Samos and Chios, The Banana House and The Mastic Campus. Due to the opening of the closed camp on Samos and the continuous departures from Chios, these were difficult decisions, and unfortunately a choice we had to make.

We continue to provide our services through one central project on the island of Chios, The HUB, where students have access to English and German classes, and digital literacy courses. New to this project this quarter is our social work; through this scheme, we are able to help our students with procedures such as opening bank accounts, applying for a tax number, and to receive their COVID vaccination.

In Athens, the Nest has continued to be a safe space and education provider for young children and their families. Whilst those between the ages of 2-7 have the opportunity to learn through play and exploration, their parents and older siblings have access to English classes. In addition, an Art project was launched within the centre, meaning all those in the family have been able to enjoy art classes together.

The pandemic is still very present, and with the recent change in Greek law requiring all those above 12 to be double vaccinated to enter a closed space, it has impacted the services we are providing once again. As responsive as always, our teams on the ground in collaboration with other organisations have been supporting participants with the procedure, from registration to attending appointments.

We look forward to the final quarter of 2021 as we continue to focus our energy on our current services, and look forward to launching our first language learning app on the Canary Islands.

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It has been over one year since the global pandemic was announced, one year since it became much harder to provide any kind of support much needed in emergency situations. This time last year, we were unsure of how the current pandemic would affect us. One year on, we have learnt a lot, and are now confident that we are able to continue providing our services as best we can. Closures and reopenings are becoming the new norm however this didn’t and won’t stop us.

During the first half of this quarter, the lockdown was still a reality in Greece, following strict measures such as early curfews and the closure of schools. But, we continued to adapt, react, and support as much as possible by offering alternative services despite the regulations and legal challenges we faced.

In Samos, we continued supporting educational activities for young children inside the camp. We also gave Banana House a brand new make-over! A new look that would later mark the next chapter as we finally were able to fully reopen our centre in the second half of this quarter.

In Chios, due to the increase in speed of processing asylum-seeking cases, we continued providing our free photography service for ID cards and the printing of documents. Adapting to Covid-19 restrictions and opening regulations, made us accustomed to the existing reality by modifying our services. We temporarily taught English in the camp to provide education access to those unable to leave it and Mastic Campus offered limited English classes but access to the most essentials such as hygiene, laundry, showers, and nutritious food thanks to our brand new kitchen.

In Athens, we saw the opening of The Nest project where we increased our outreach not only to young children but to also provide services, information, and non-formal education to parents and guardians.

Whilst we have come to grasps with working under Covid-19, this quarter has also continued to be plagued with unrest surrounding the emptying of the island camps. With a combination of moving asylum seekers and refugees off the islands and onto the mainland to continue their cases and the low number of arrivals due to the continued use of pushbacks, it is uncertain how the island camps will look later this year. Although new camps are becoming more prominent, the living conditions and standards have not improved. There is still a lack of suitable housing, scarcity of food and water, and human rights are still violated on a very regular basis.

For us, this quarter has seemed more promising in some ways. Although it hasn’t been easy, we will continue to provide support and comfort the best we can under such precarious circumstances.

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2020 has been a challenging year around the world. The global pandemic has shown us how fragile and uncertain life is, particularly for those in vulnerable situations.

 In March, we watched as Greece went into lockdown. With a heavy heart, we closed our centres. Since then, the camps on Chios and Samos have hardly opened.

Our students have lost access to their support system outside the camp. They have been forced to live in an overcrowded and unsanitary place whilst leaders across the world call for social distancing. For months we have been forced to work remotely. 

But determined to make the best of the situation, we used this time to learn and reevaluate our programmes. We moved lessons online and distributed worksheets, food and hygiene items. We increased support for our volunteers from the refugee community and invested in strengthening our teams on the ground.

In the face of these great challenges, we managed to open two new centres on Chios. These are long-term investments in creating learning opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. At the Mastic Campus, we integrate language classes with skill-based workshops and allow our participants to be part of a diverse and safe community. At The Hub, we've created a space for those living in the city and offer access to multi-levelled classes in computer skills.

Over the past months, our students and volunteers have faced adversity with courage. Even in such times, they remain the beating heart of Action for Education. Throughout the pandemic, no matter what, we committed to remaining on the ground, monitoring and responding in every way possible. This year, we’re not only continuing this but we’re going to be doing a lot more.

 We’re proud of our approach, which has been developed over the past 3 years. Innovation, inclusivity, curiosity and a drive to challenge the status quo when we're not happy with how the system works, have brought us to where we are now.

As we reflect on 2020, we are grateful for the learning experiences we have had, for the people we have managed to connect with and for the support we have received.

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2020 has been a challenging year around the world. The global pandemic has shown us how fragile and uncertain life is, particularly for those in vulnerable situations.

 In March, we watched as Greece went into lockdown. With a heavy heart, we closed our centres. Since then, the camps on Chios and Samos have hardly opened.

Our students have lost access to their support system outside the camp. They have been forced to live in an overcrowded and unsanitary place whilst leaders across the world call for social distancing. For months we have been forced to work remotely.

But determined to make the best of the situation, we used this time to learn and reevaluate our programmes. We moved lessons online and distributed worksheets, food and hygiene items. We increased support for our volunteers from the refugee community and invested in strengthening our teams on the ground.

In the face of these great challenges, we managed to open two new centres on Chios. These are long-term investments in creating learning opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. At the Mastic Campus, we integrate language classes with skill-based workshops and allow our participants to be part of a diverse and safe community. At The Hub, we've created a space for those living in the city and offer access to multi-levelled classes in computer skills.

Over the past months, our students and volunteers have faced adversity with courage. Even in such times, they remain the beating heart of Action for Education. Throughout the pandemic, no matter what, we committed to remaining on the ground, monitoring and responding in every way possible. This year, we’re not only continuing this but we’re going to be doing a lot more. 

We’re proud of our approach, which has been developed over the past 3 years. Innovation, inclusivity, curiosity and a drive to challenge the status quo when we're not happy with how the system works, have brought us to where we are now.

 As we reflect on 2020, we are grateful for the learning experiences we have had, for the people we have managed to connect with and for the support we have received.

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Organization Information

Action for Education

Location: Chios - Greece
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Action4Edu
Project Leader:
Jacob Warn
Chios, Greece

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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