WELCOMMON, an innovative hosting and social inclusion center for refugees: We need your support

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We are pleased to inform you about WELCOMMON, to call you to visit our web site  or/and see the links with videos and invite you to visit our center where we combine decent and safe housing with social inclusion and job integration of refugees.

WELCOMMON is a different, an innovative, model community center for accommodation of refugees, especially those who need long term care and protection, the most vulnerable groups of refugees:

– people with disabilitiesserious medical conditions, serious psychiatric disorders,

– victims of torture, rape, trafficking,

– pregnant women, families with newborns.

About 82 of 150 of our guests are between the most vulnerable refugees: 9 people with special needs, 55 people with severe health problems, 17 people with psychiatric problems. We are also hosting 14 newborns and some pregnant women.

It is a structure not only for (the most vulnerable) refugees but with refugees for the benefit of the local community as well.

We want to sustain WELCOMMON long term

WELCOMMON is implemented by the social enterprise Wind of Renewal (“Anemos Ananeosis” – WoR) and until the end of February 2018, in cooperation with Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA), and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). It is funded for the period 1/9/2016-28/2/2018 partially (hosting and functional costs) by the European Union.

We fully support the hosting of refugees in appartments. But not all of them are ready or able to do this immedfiately after their stay in a hotspot.  Maybe for many, the most vulnerable, a transition, enough time and a supportive environment (of a structure like WELCOMMON) are needed in order to be able to suceed in this, to see this happen. Otherwise they will stay excluded and isolated in a appartment without hope and solutions for many of their problems.

Therefore, we are looking for different ways/resource in order to sustain the function of WELCOMMON long term. The current cooperation with the Development Agency of the Municipality of Athens and UNHCR and the partially funding by EU is about to finish by the end of February 2018. Funding for such an integrated project is difficult. There are not open calls, at the moment, either at the European or at national level for an innovate and integrated center offering both decent / safe housing and opportunities for empowerment, social inclusion and job integration of the most vulnerable refugees although it is needed now more than ever.

We are different

WELCOMMON differs from most others, because it aims in an integrated way in reception and housing (in decent conditions) of refugees in need of long term care but also in supporting their social  and job integration. At the same time, it is an excellent example of empowermentcoexistencedialogue between the cultures  and cooperation until now between:

– 160-170 refugees from 18 different countries/nationalities, a total of 540 since the opening of the center in October 2016, most of them very vulnerable, people who have suffered in their own skin the violence,

– 160 volunteers from 4 different continents (Europe, Africa, Asia and America) who participated in many activities for and with the refugees, gaining experiences and feelings, having the opportunity to understand better and respect the different cultures. It is also an important experience for them and an opportunity to acquire know-how (much more if they have relevant knowledge or work professionally in relevant fields).

– 32 employees, most of them long-term unemployed Greek citizens, some enthusiastic – but with no experience in job – youngsters, a number of migrants living in Greece for many years and 1 new comer- refugee. We make sure we have interpreters and social mediators for everyone.

– the local authorities, the local community, educational institutions and organizations from all over the world.

How did we formulate the project

In order to shape our project, we cooperated with communities and  organizations representing migrants and refugees  in our country (Greek Migrants Forum, Greek Refugee Forum, Syrians living in Greece and others). In addition, we studied the existing (good and bad) examples of similar projects. Our plan differs from most others, because it aims in an integrated way of reception and housing (in decent conditions) of refugees who need  long term care and support, but also in supporting their social  and job integration.

Welcommon offers:

To refugees

– Decent and safe housing, food and coverage of  basic needs.  We also meet the nutritional needs of the guests, as accurately as possible, depending on age, health status or cultural perceptions. Guests can wash their clothes in the washing machines and tumblers that exist in the center, or use sewing machines to repair them.

– Psychosocial support. 3 social workers , 1 psychologist and  1 chlid-psycholigist are working in the center. We support systematically and on many levels the preparation, intercultural education and social inclusion of our guests – for us they are not only numbers and papers – in cooperation with organizations and services based in Greece or in the countries of resettlement.

– Primary medical care and systematic support (medical records file, interpreting, escort) for secondary care, if necessary, with respect to the cultural and religious sensibilities of the guests, especially since the populations we host now are among the most vulnerable ones and with multiple needs. Primary medical care is provided on a daily basis by WELCOMMON’s nurse and midwife, who have a close cooperation on a voluntary basis with the Spanish Red Cross and arab-speaking  doctors.

– Non-formal education of children as well as adults, such as: continuous and innovative language courses (Greek, Arabic, English, German and more), painting, music, photography, theatercreative activities for adults and childrensports, dancing. We help and prepare the children who have been out of school for many years to be able to attend attend the greek  school immediately. We are very proud for our “arabic class” as well as for the tutoring lessons (language lessons and help with the lessons in school) for children that participate in the formal Greek educational system.  The walls of our building are slowly being transformed to a “gallery” with “exhibitions” of paintings done by our guests at WELCOMMON.

To local community

– Innovative services and new organizational models that help address social issues in a way that benefits both vulnerable social groups and society as a whole. These models could be applied to other vulnerable groups, such as long-term unemployed greeks, socially excluded people with socio-psychological difficulties and people with special needs.

– New jobs creation in WELCOMMON, directly for about 32 people up today, who upgrade their knowledge, experiences and skills so as to be able to respond to new demands of their profession (e.g. teachers, social workers, psychologists etc.). In fact, we offer a kind of continuous practice and vocational training through working at WELCOMMON (both for employees and for volunteers from Greece and around the world). We offer work opportunities in a complex and multicultural-multilingual environment, with refugees from 18 different countries and volunteers from many different countries, with a multitude of different skills and abilities, with different cognitive and cultural backgrounds. We seek systematic cooperation with other institutions (universities, international organizations, social organizations, municipalities,professional bodies) from Greece and abroad, while we host seminars and exchanges practices in fields such as social services, psychological support, education, accommodation of refugees and other vulnerable groups, thus strongly contributing to professionals’ expertise.

– Boosting  of the local economy and market as all the resources being spent for the operation of WELCOMMON, return to the greek ecomony and the local market

Social integration – socialization

As part of the process of social inclusion and cultural / environmental awareness of the refugees, we organize visits to museums, art venues, parks and public spaces.

Since almost every one of our guests speaks different language, we emphasize in art as it works therapeutically and can unite people. We want refugee but also local children to get familiarized with art in their daily live. We emphasise both on organized visits to museums and exhibitions, as well as on artistic activities in our own center.

3 important awards in one year

(a) WELCOMMON was honoured on June 8, 2017 with the “Special Mention” award of the REVES Excellence Award 2017, which aims to strengthen synergies between local / regional authorities and social economy actors, and to highlight the achievements of such cooperation. The evaluation committee consisted of representatives of the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Parliament, the Regional Committee and Social Economy Europe.

(b)  The French Federation of Social Inclusion Enterprises invited WELCOMMON to participate in their national Congress organized in November 16-17, in Marseille, as was selected as a “good example of social inclusion in Euro-Med area.

(c)   We are awarded as one of the 3 best examples of projects for refugees contributing to the dialogue between the cultures in the Euro-med area (2017 Euro-Med Dialogue Award) by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Fondazione Mediterraneo, Italy. The Bestowing Ceremony took place on 16 December 2017 at the Estonian Film Museum with the support of the Estonian Foreign Ministry.

What the refugees themselves and others say about the role of WELCOMMON

– Documentary “Working With Refugee Communities in Greece”, by the “In place of War” (IPOW) in cooperation with Anna Lindh Foundation

 Bibiche, from Kongo, “What you really know about the refugees

 Beshir, from Syria, “What you really know about the refugees

 Ghassan, from Syria, “What you really know about the refugees

 –  We are more than papers

– An article published by the e-newsletter «Cooperative.news»:  «Taking steps to meet the long-term needs of refugees»

How you could support and help us

Taking into consideration the above, we would be glad to provide you with further information of our work if you would like to support us

Thank you

For donations:

ΤΡΑΠΕΖΑ ΠΕΙΡΑΙΩΣ / PIRAEUS BANK

Beneficiary: ANEMOS KOINONIKI SYNETAIRISTIKI EPICHEIRISI;

IBAN: GR83 0172 0180 0050 1807 7868 253

Branch: ΠΛΑΤΕΙΑ ΑΤΤΙΚΗΣ

BIC: PIRBGRAA

ZEW-Klima: With new energy against youth unemployment

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ZEW-Klima: With new energy against youth unemployment

What is about?

The project „Zukunftschancen Energiewende und Klimaschutz“(ZEW-Klima: With new energy against youth unemployment) aims to explore the conditions for energy transition and climate protection measures in the selected regions of Athens, Greece and Cádiz, Spain. Further, it aims to analyse the employment opportunities for unemployed young people in the respective regions that result from the development of renewable energy and climate protection. Consequently, the necessary qualification requirements for the realisation of employment opportunities are also to be determined and poured into broad curricula.

Partners involved in ZEW-Klima

  • Wind of Renewal /Anemos Ananeosis, Greece

  • University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin, Germany

  • University of Cádiz, Spain
  • Secretariat for future studies Berlin, Germany

  • Naturschutzzentrum Ökowerk Berlin e.V., Germany

  • Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH, Germany

  • WRE Hellas S.A., Greece

Why this program? 

The youth unemployment is particularly high in Southern European countries: 45.5 % of young people aged from 18 to 25 are affected in Greece and 48.7 % in Andalusia, Spain. At the same time, these countries have enormous potentials for the deployment of renewable energy. 

In this way, we anticipate being able to examine the promising approach of tackling the problem of youth unemployment in the target regions through adequate qualification measures, which at the same time have a positive impact on the energy transition and climate protection effects. These findings can be used to provide key actors (education institutions, political leaders, companies, social institutions) in the target regions with a sound understanding of the challenges of youth unemployment, energy poverty and the development of renewable energy, including, where appropriate, state and European programmes such as Youth Guarantee (“Jugendgarantie”) or Employment Initiative (“Beschäftigungsinitiative”). The necessary involvement and support of political actors is covered by ZEW-Klima as well.

A practical implementation of the findings on employment effects and specific qualification requirements can contribute to the long-term and sustainable use of the results of the project. With its scientific foundation and justification, the approach of ZEW-Klima provides the basis for a structured and strategic procedure in the target regions. An implementation project can be set up following ZEW-Klima, which has already been sketched in basic terms in the project idea “European youths working on energy transition” and must now be enriched with appropriate content: A qualification of young people from the two selected regions in the field of renewable energy/ climate protection can be achieved based on educational requirements and framework curricula developed by ZEW-Klima. Further, there is the possibility to carry out trainings in Germany, which has a respectively developed education systems and access to many projects, companies and activities in terms of energy transition.

To secure and spread the acquired competencies in a sustainable way, training for consultants can be included in the economical and efficient use of energy in households, small businesses and communal facilities. The aim is to apply modern instruments such as energy contracting to permanently integrate municipal consultants into networks in which they can work on their own funds. For example, to maintain the qualification approaches developed through ZEW-Klima for the future, its efforts can be institutionalised in the form of an energy agency.

The project „ZEW-Klima – Zukunftschancen Energiewende und Klimawandel“ is funded by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project funding instrument by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. It does so through strengthening across-border dialogue and cooperation as well as exchange of knowledge and experience.

OPEN SOCIETIES AND SCHOOLS IN CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY TRANSITION (CLIMATE SCHOOL Be.At)

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Kick off meeting

OPEN SOCIETIES AND SCHOOLS IN CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY TRANSITION (CLIMATE SCHOOL Be.At)

“OPEN SOCIETIES AND SCHOOLS IN CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY TRANSITION” constitutes a collaboration between the Municipality of Athens, the educational community, the Social cooperative “Wind of Renewal”, the citizens initiative “Respect for Greece” (Berlin) and Unabhängiges Institut für Umweltfragen (UfU)

It aims to the mobilization of the local communities and municipalities for climate protection and energy transition as well as to the energy efficiency of the schools with the substantial participation and collaboration of the teachers, students, parents and local authorities.

Monday 20/11/2017

City Hall, Athinas 63, Square of Ethinikis Antistasis (Kotzia)

18:00Public presentation of the“Climate School Be.At” project

  • Greetings
  • Brief presentation of the “Climate School Be.At” project from the Vice Mayor for the Child, Maria Iliopoulou
  • “City of Athens: Resilience Strategy and Climate Action Plan”
  • Irene Skoula, Program Manager, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  • Kostas Georgiou, Project Manager, Resilient Athens
  • Brief partners’ presentation and explanation of their role in the project:
  • Wind of Renewal
  • Respekt fuer Griechenland
  • Unabhängiges Institut für Umweltfragen (UfU)

Tuesday 21/11/2017

Wind of Renewal / WELCOMMON, Kapodistriou 4

9:00 – 13:00

  • What is the project and its’ goals?
  • Project’s philosophy
  • Brief partners’ presentation and explanation of their role in the project
  • Financial mechanism
  • Management – group communication tools
  • Schedules – Physical Objects Reports – Financial Reports
  • Deliverables (certificates – documents – questionnaires – material)
  • Communication strategy
  • Possible synergies with other networks and programs 

13:00 – 14:00: Light lunch

14:30 – 18:00

  • Educational objectives of the program
  • Axes and curriculum for the training of the trainers
  • Cooperation between Greek – German partners / scientists
  • Axes of educational research actions – training trainers on how to educate teachers
  • Profile of teachers to be involved in the survey
  • Discussion on the “mobile suitcases” equipment
  • Discussion on the equipment of the Environmental center and the 5 “open”schools

Wednesday 22/11/2017

9.30-10.30: Visit Athen’s new Environmental Center, Kiriakou 12

11.00-13.00: Presentation of the project “Design for better learning – Etsi mathainw kalutera”

(Wind of Renewal / WELCOMMON, Kapodistriou 4)

Partners:

 

Several important social economy events in November

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Several important social economy events will take place during the month of November:
  • 1st Social and Solidarity Expo (1 to 3 November, Athens, Greece)
On 1, 2 and 3 November, will take place in Athens the 1st Greek Social Economy Expo, organised by the Greek Government in cooperation with several social economy actors. Please find here the official website of the event (including the programme).  
  • Ethical and Sustainable Finance for the Future of Europe (Wednesday 8 November, European Parliament, Brussels)
We are pleased to invite you to the event on Ethical and Sustainable Finance for the Future of Europe, to be held on Wednesday 8 November 2017 at 18:30 at the European Parliament (room ASP3H1). 
 
The event -that will present Ethical and sustainable finance as tool for the EU in building a more inclusive Europe, close to younger Europeans, delivering innovative environmental and social solutions- is co-organised by Banca Etica (Italy) and the S&D Group.
 
Please find attached the programme of the event. To register, please send an e-mail to contact@socialeconomy.eu.org –before Friday 3rd November at 16:00– with your personal details: full name, date of birth, nationality, type of ID card and ID number
  • 2nd European Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy (Thursday 9 November, European Parliament, Brussels)
The 2nd EU Forum on Social and Solidarity Economy of the GUE/NGL (Confederal Group of the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left), will take place on Thursday 9th November 2017 from 9am to 6:30pm at the European Parliament in Brussels
 
Social Economy Europe will be represented in the first conference by Mr. Peru Sasia, President of FEBEA.  Please find here the programme and the website of the event.
 
To register, please send an e-mail to marie-christine.vergiat@europarl.europa.eu –before Monday 6th November at 9:00– with your personal details: full name, date of birth, nationality, type of ID card and ID number
  • Portuguese National Social Economy Congress (Tuesday 14 November, Lisbon, Portugal)
Please find also attached the programme of the National Social Economy Congress, that will take place on 14th of November in Lisbon
 
This Congress will serve to officially launch the new Portuguese Social Economy Confederation (CESP). Please note that the founders of this organisation will be the: Portuguese Cooperatives Confederation, National Confederation of Agriculture Cooperatives and Agricultural Credit, Portuguese Mutuals Union, Portuguese Foundations Centre, Solidarity Institutions Confederation, Portuguese Association for Local Development, and Confederation of Culture, Leisure and Sport organisations. 
 
SEE President, Juan Antonio Pedreño, has been invited to participate in a roundtable on The Challenges for the Social Economy at EU-level.
 
Please find attached and here the programme and more information on the congress. 
  • What role for the Social Economy in the Future of Work? (Thursday 16 November, Gothenburg, Sweden)
As you know this important side event to the European Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth is co-organised by the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the City of Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland.  SEE President, Juan Antonio Pedreño, will be among the main speakers alongside with other SEE members, such as Ms. Claudia Fiaschi, Spokesperson of Forum Nazionale Terzo Settore, and Ms. Angela Achitei, President of Fundatia Alaturi de Voi (Romania) and member of ENSIE. Please find here the draft programme of the event. You can register here.
 
Please note that after the conference, a Citizen’s Dialogue organised by the European Commission and open to all will take place in the same venue. Meet Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen and the Swedish Employment Minister Ylva JohanssonPlease register here in case you would like to join.
  • Evaluation of the social impact: when research becomes action (Thursday 23rd November9:30-16:30, Brussels)
On Thursday 23rd November 2017 from 9:30 to 16:30, will take place at Espace Jacqmotte (Rue Haute 139, Brussels) the conference Evaluation of the social impact: when research becomes actionPlease find attached the programme (that includes the link to the registration form).

WELCOMMON, 1′ video: Why we are different, what we are doing with refugees

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#Welcommon, a model hosting and social inclusion center for #refugees in #Athens, working for and #withrefugees, for the benefit of #local #communities and vulnerable persons. Why we are #different, what we are doing for the #coexistence and the #cooperation between #cultures

#WELCOMMON is an innovative community center for hosting and promoting social inclusion of refugees. It is a structure not only for refugees but with refugees for the benefit of the local community as well. It is implemented by the social enterprise Wind of Renewal (“Anemos Ananeosis”) in cooperation with Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA), in the framework of the refugees’ relocation program of the Municipality of Athens and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). It is funded partially (hosting and functional costs) by the European Union.

WELCOMMON, welcommon in common a model hosting and social incl…

#Welcommon, a model hosting and social inclusion center for #refugees in #Athens, working for and #withrefugees, for the benefit of #local #communities and vulnerable persons. Why we are #different, what we are doing for the #coexistence and the #cooperation between #cultureTo WELCOMMON είναι ένα διαφορετικό μοντέλο φιλοξενίας και κοινωνικής ένταξης των προσφύγων που εφαρμόζουμε στην Αθήνα. Μια ολοκληρωμένη προσέγγιση που συνδυάζει την κάλυψη των βασικών αναγκών των προσφύγων (διαμονή σε αξιοπρεπείς συνθήκες, ποιοτική διατροφή) με κάλυψη των εξίσου απαραίτητων αναγκών (μη τυπική και τυπική εκπαίδευση, κοινωνικο-ψυχολογική υποστήριξη, πρωτοβάθμια φροντίδα υγείας, κοινωνικοποίηση, προετοιμασία για κοινωνική κι επαγγελματική ένταξη, διάλογος πολιτισμών, σύνδεση με την τοπική κοινωνία μέσα από την καθημερινότητα). Είναι πιο ολοκληρωμένη προσέγγιση που δεν εντάσσεται μέσα σε απλοικά σχήματα: Hotspots ή διαμερίσματα, άθλιες συνθήκες διαμονής ή ιδρυματοποίηση/αποθήκες ψυχών. Αντιθέτως, εμείς στο WELCOMMON προετοιμάσουμε και ενδυnaμώνουμε τους ανθρώπους ώστε να μπορούν να σταθούν στα πόδια τους και να οργανώσουν ξανά τη ζωή τους.@windofrenewal ΑΝΕΜΟΣ ΑΝΑΝΕΩΣΗΣ/WIND OF RENEWAL, UNHCR GREECE, EATΑ

Posted by Welcommon on 18. október 2017

Wind of Renewal visits Berlin for energy saving and climate protection

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In the context of our cooperation with the initiative “Respect for Greece”, Wind of Renewal traveled to Berlin from 17 to 22 May 2017 in the context of a study visit in matters of energy saving at schools. Representatives of the Municipality of Athens and Greek educators took part too at the study visit.

 

During the study visit we had the opportunity to meet with educational stakeholders, environmental education centers, members of the Parliament, municipal representatives, institutions, experts, active citizens, as well as members of the initiative “BuergerEnergie Berlin”, a registered cooperation that is planning to buy the Berlin Electricity Grid.

Programme of the study visit

Interview with  Boris Gotchev and Christian Wernitz from BuergerEnergie

WIND OF RENEWAL AND THE WELCOMMON PROJECT HAVE BEEEN HONOURED WITH THE SPECIAL MENTION AWARD UNDER THE REVES EXCELLENCE AWARD 2017

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Wind of Renewal with the Welcommon project was among the candidates for REVES Excellence Award 2017. A jury consisting of representatives of the Committee of the Regions, the European Parliament, the OECD and Social Economy Europe honoured us with the “Special Mention” award as an  innovative/promising example of cooperation among cities/regions and social economy organisations. Welcommon distinguished among 15 candidates from 7 different European countries.

 

Since its inception, the REVES Excellence Award has the objective to make real alliances between local/regional authorities and the social economy, as well as their achievements, more visible. At the same time, it aims to foster the emergence of new partnerships between these two players.

The President of Wind of Renewal, Nikos Chrysogelos, presented the project at the REVES Excellence Award Conference on 8 June 2017 at the European Committee of the Regions, in presence of EU public authorities and social economy organisations’ representatives, policy makers, citizens and other stakeholders.

Welcommon is a model community center in Athens for hosting and promoting social inclusion of refugees. It is implemented by the social enterprise Wind of Renewal, in cooperation with the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (EATA), under the “Relocation Scheme Program” of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

In October 2016 Welcommon hosted the first refugees and until today it has hosted 448 refugees. Welcommon aims to provide temporary accommodation for refugees but also to promote their social integration. It is a facility not just for the refugees but primarily with the refugees, to the benefit of the local community.

Welcommon offers:

To the refugees:

– decent and safe accommodation, food and cover for basic needs

– psychosocial support

– cultural training

– social integration

To the local community:

– new jobs

– professional training

– professional specialization

– a boost to the local market

Find out more about Welcommon through a comprehensive presentation here and the website www.welcommon.gr

WELCOMMON, a former clinic turned to an innovative hosting and inclusion center (not only) for refugees

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WELCOMMON, an innovative project for hosting and social inclusion of refugees

#WELCOMMON is an innovative community center for hosting and promoting the social inclusion of refugees. It is implemented by the social enterprise Wind of Renewal (“Anemos Ananeosis”) in cooperation with the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (EATA), in the framework of the relocation program of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The building

Wind of Renewal/Anemos Ananeosis has rented the WELCOMMON building (a former clinic) for 9 years. The building is located in the central Athens (4 Kapodistriou St.), has 7 floors and an area of 3200 square meters. Its central location and its accessibility by the public transport contributes to avoiding the marginalization of the refugees and facilitates the participation of local people in its activities.

The WELCOMMON building was overhauled in August and September 2016. Wind of Renewal renovated and refurbished the building throughout, adapting it to its new requirements and giving it a “second life”.  Mostly repaired and second-hand furniture have been used, combining social and environmental responsibility.

It meets all appropriate specifications for the safe and decent accommodation of guests:

  • 66 rooms most of them with private bathroom
  • fire-extinguishing systems
  • safe balconies and staircase
  • accessibility for handicapped individuals
  • 24-hour entrance security
  • facilities for gatherings, tutorials, artistic and other activities
  • Wifi and TVs in each floor
  • Washing machines, driers and refrigerators (common use)

The building can host up to 190 refugees and 15 volunteers from abroad.

Professionals as well volunteers have contributed to this hard work –completed in less than a month-and-a-half at a very low cost.

The structure of WELCOMMON

WELCOMMON presently employs 30 professionals in the following areas:

  • Administration / management / secretarial support
  • Reception
  • Interpretation / cultural mediation
  • Social and psychological support
  • Primary health care-nurse and midwife
  • Building maintenance
  • Human resources
  • Security

Many of our employees, previously in the ranks of the unemployed, have experience on refugee issues.

More than 20 volunteers are supporting our daily work continuously.

Synthesis of Welcommon’s guests

WELCOMMON welcomed its first guests on 12th of October 2016. Guests are selected by the UN High Commission for Refugees, in the framework of its relocation program and asylum seekes and with priority given to the most vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, victims of torture and rape, families with many children, the elderly, handicapped, people with serious health problems (eg cancer) etc.  The majority are until now Syrians (70-90%) and children (65-80%), often accompanied by only one parent, usually the mother. We have already seen the first 10 births since December 2016, during the stay of the mothers in Welcommon. We are also hosting 7-10 pregnant women, some of them from 16-18.

A typical synthesis of Welcommon when the “population” was 162 people.  91 of them are underage:

  • 10 babies up to 1 year old
  • 11 from 1,5 to 3
  • 17 from 3,5 to 6
  • 33 from 6,5 to 12
  • 20 from 12,5 to 18

 

Catering

Three meals per day are offered. Our first priority is to provide food, in line with our guests’ individual nutritional requirements, according to age, state of health or religious persuasion. Due to the large number of babies and children and to their special nutrition needs, we had to offer extra food stuff such as infant milk (formula), fresh milk, yogurt, fresh fruits and juices. In addition we purchased 3 refrigerators and placed them in the communal areas of the floors, in order to store the fruits, the milk or other food. 

Health issues

All our guests undergo health screening and the Mantoux test (for tuberculosis). We also ensure that all children are vaccinated so they can attend the formal education system (school or nursery structures), according to Greek legislation. We have established a close cooperation with doctors hired by the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, in the framework of its refugee program.  

In all cases, we strive to provide services to the refugees in cases of urgent health needs. We organize their medical records so they have at their disposal all relevant data, whether they resettle in another country or stay in Greece.

In cooperation with the community of Syrians living already in Greece, we have set up a network of Arabic-speaking volunteer doctors of various specializations. We are also developing close ties with social clinics.

We offer support to many pregnant women and new mothers and borns. We have hired additional to our nurse and a midwife.

Social workers and interpreters accompany our guests to doctors and hospitals. Welcommon covered the whole cost for medicines and vaccinations through donations in 2016 and a part of this cost in 2017.

At the moment we host 10 babies born during the stay of their mothers in Welcommon since December 2016 and some 7-8 women are going to give birth in the next 2-3 weeks.

Welcome classes and education/training of children, a basic need

Refugee children have remained out of an education system for between two and five years. Some of them could never attend school. This, combined with the fact that they are for a long period away from home, leaving in camps and moving from one place -or country- to another, most of the time under difficult conditions, results in a lot of problems. Therefore it is essential for them to return to a formal as well as to a non-formal education and training system as soon as possible.

At WELCOMMON we provide support at three levels:

  • Enrolment in the Greek formal education system based on the existing public structures and their age (kindergarten, primary, secondary and high school). Before they begin attending school classes, we provide them with the health checks and vaccinations necessary, according to Greek legislation. We believe their attendance is very important, not only for gaining knowledge and skills but also for their social life in the future and their adaptation to social realities.
  • Opportunities for non-formal education, training and empowerment with social skills, despite limited appropriate resources. Such facilities are provided inside WELCOMMON itself with the help of volunteers, but we also looking for cooperation with other organizations in the form of workshops and classes for language learning (Arabic, Greek, English, German), painting, photography, video, music. We have also some volunteers-specialists that  offer opportunities for both children and adults to participate in sports activities.
  • Empowering parents (often single) to be fully able to take proper care of their children as well as youngsters and new mothers offering them a place for gradual rehabilitation as well as social, psychological and pedagogical support. This is obviously something that takes time and needs more human and financial resources which we are lacking at the moment.

Our first priority is to enroll as many children as possible in neighboring schools, according their age. But due to lack of vacancies it was possible -up to now- to enroll only few of the children in schools (only 8 of a total 91).  For this reason and in order to give both to children and parents the opportunity to return in a “normal” daily life, we are implementing an integrated program of non formal education activities. At the moment, a lot of activities are organized and implemented with the valuable contribution of our volunteers and include languages lessons (german, english, greek), pottery, painting, cinema/video, photography, music and dance classes. Also, usually on Sundays, we organize visits to interesting sites of Athens, parcs, museums and art exhibitions.

We are trying to expand the non formal education activities for children but also for adults, so that all of them during their stay in Welcommon to have the opportunity to participate in a complete and integrated training program similar to the formal education program. Our aim is to provide basic knowledge, skills and capabilities similar to those provided by the formal education and additional social skills through creative activities and innovative learning methods.

We can afford the rooms and places for such an education and trainning activity, as we have transformed  since the mid of January 2017 – the rooms of a whole floor (2nd) in small classes. It is true, that we need more human and financial resources in order to be able to offer such services to all the children. Therefore we are seeking foundations and citizens who would like to support our plan.     

Resources – fundraising – donations

Although the basic costs for hosting the refugees in WELCOMMON are 90% covered through the cooperation with the Athens Development and Destination Managerment Agency, in 2016 and 2017, there are many other costs not covered by this grant, eg education, health support, social inclusion, job integration, cultural integration etc.

We are seeking donations and more resources in order to promote social inclusion, health services and materials, training, welcome classes and creative activities (e.g. painting, music, dancing, sports, language lessons, capacity building etc.), as well as environmental management, energy efficiency and the maintenance of the 3200 sq.m. building. 

Entertainment

We organize very often live music nights thanks to musicians-volunteers playing Arabic, Mediterranean and Greek music. All, but mainly the children participate and enjoy very much hearing music and dancing.

As the majority of our guests are underage, we had to purchase an amount of toys for different ages. We selected those that can be used not only to provide fun but also educate. In addition as we organize several artistic classes, we had to purchase the necessary materials, such as papers, markers, pencils, brushes, canvas, pottery tools and other crafts materials.

For the entertainment, but also for the daily briefing, of the adults we purchased satellite TVs and placed 1 at the gathering place of each floor. As we organize cinema afternoons, 2 per week for adults and 2 per week for children, we had to buy the relevant equipment, such as projectors, speakers etc. Some of them are 2d hand. 

Clothing – shoes – basic needs

We purchased 4 sewing machines and sewing materials and made available a room so that guests can repair the clothes.  As some of our guests are tailors and dressmakers, we asked them to organize the place and the materials and also to help or to instruct those who are interested. This process is a tool for empowerment with skills and abilities as well as a means for capacity building and a return to a normal daily life.

In addition we bought 4 washing machines and 4 driers which are placed in the basement and are available to the guests who can use them to wash their clothes, according to a weekly schedule.

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Some more future plans     

In the near future WELCOMMON aims:

To offer opportunities for employment, by tapping the skills and aptitudes of the guests, mainly the asylum seekers who will remain in Greece, through their participation in the running of the organization and in collaboration with other organizations and agencies.

To create a data base with the curricula vitae of refugees –both inside and outside the facility- so as to facilitate their employment in businesses seeking specific qualifications and skills.

To set up social enterprises with the participation of Greeks and refugees/ immigrants, in the following areas:

  • Repair and reuse of clothing and footwear -which will create jobs for both refugees and the local population- and sale of clothing at reasonable prices.
  • Renting of various products, such as baby items (cots, cradles and carriers), items for handicapped people, special equipment for the chronically ill (oxygen apparatuses, special beds, wheelchairs etc.) at reasonable rates.
  • Food and catering

To develop a network and permanent cooperation with similar initiatives and structures at regional, national and European level, as well as in other neighboring countries, for an exchange of experiences and good practices, through regular meetings, seminars and workshops, thus building bridges between different cultures, societies and activities.

We aspire to contribute not only to relief efforts but also in the form of social inclusion strategies and practices. We would like to see a real change in the hosting policies implemented in our country and the development of a holistic strategy for the refugees in Greece.

Bank accounts:

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal

Pireaus Bank: GR8301720180005018077868253   BIC: PIRBGRAA

Eurobank: GR7202602440000180200876471   BIC: ERBKGRAA

For Welcommon project

Contacts: windofrenewal@gmail.com or welcommon.project@gmail.com

tel:  00302103803959 or 00302103810646

Education Programm for Syrian refugees in Athens- WELCOMMON

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WHO ARE WE?

WELCOMMON is an innovative community center in Athens, Greece hosting and promoting the social inclusion of refugees.

It was set up by the social enterprise Wind of Renewal (“AnemosAnaneosis”) in cooperation with the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (EATA), under the framework of the relocation program of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

   

WHAT DO WE DO?

In 2016 Welcommon rented and refurbished a building in the centre of Athens to provide a home and community centre for refugees.  It hosts up to 200 refugees and 15 volunteers.  Priority is given to vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, families with children, the elderly, handicapped, victims of torture etc.  The majority are Syrians (90%) and children (65-80%), often accompanied by only one parent, usually the mother.

The refugee children have remained out of an education system for between two and five years. Some of them have been prevented from ever attending school. This, combined with the fact that they are away from home, living in camps and moving from one place -or country- to another, under very difficult conditions, results in a lot of problems. It is essential for them to return to a formal as well as to a non-formal education and training system as soon as possible.

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Although the basic costs for hosting the refugees in WELCOMMON are 80% covered through the cooperation with the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency and UNHCR, there are many other costs not covered by this grant, and mainly costs for education and inclusion.

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WHAT WILL YOUR DONATION BE USED FOR?

Places in the formal Greek education system are very limited. Your donation will help us to expand both formal and non-formal education activities for children and adults. During their stay in Welcommon they have the opportunity to participate in a complete and integrated training program similar to the formal education program. Our aim is to provide basic knowledge, skills and capabilities similar to those provided by the formal education and additional social skills through creative activities and innovative learning methods.

Your donation will help to promote social inclusion, provide health services and materials, training, welcome classes and creative activities (e.g. painting, music, dancing, sports, language lessons, capacity building etc.), as well as environmental management, energy efficiency and the maintenance of the 3200 sq.m. building. 

We aspire to contribute not only to relief efforts but also in the form of education and social inclusion strategies and practices.

We would like to see a real change in the hosting policies implemented in our country and the development of a holistic strategy for the refugees in Greece.

Bank accounts:

Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal

Pireaus Bank: GR8301720180005018077868253   BIC: PIRBGRAA

Eurobank: GR7202602440000180200876471   BIC: ERBKGRAA

For Welcommon project