Despite the high temperature and the early time, last Saturday, the 93rd Primary School of Athens at Neos Kosmos was full of life. But what was going on? Following the seminar on climate protection and energy saving practices at school of secondary education teachers, a seminar for the primary education teachers was about to be held.
According to the framework of the program “OPEN SOCIETIES AND SCHOOLS IN CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY TRANSITION (CLIMATE SCHOOL Be.At)”, a total of 200 teachers from 65 primary, secondary, high school and technical education schools of Athens and neighboring areas will be trained so that they will be able to take action and make research in their schools to raise awareness of the educational community and change behaviors to achieve energy saving.
The bell rang at 8.30am and the 10 trainers of the seminar welcomed their trainees at the classrooms in groups of 21-25. In total there was trained a gender balanced group of 105 teachers. All of them had personal desire and willingness to participate in the project. They were really enthusiastic about the topic of energy efficiency and climate protection since it was their first time working for that in such a practical, coherent and structured way. Comparing to recycling or other environmental projects that they had already run in their schools, they expressed their enthusiasm to guide their students to implement such a practical and research based program that will lead to measurable results.
The teachers left very positive comments about the quality of the 6-hour training, the overall structure of the project and the training material. They characterized the project as: ambitious, challenging, interesting, manageable, organized, innovative, methodical, well-structured, promising, well-designed. Their expectations are more concentrated on practical applications and technical knowledge, and they expressed interest to develop synergies with other institutions and similar initiatives in Greece in order to achieve better results and a sustainable implementation of the outputs of the program.
The training focused mainly on the following topics:
- Theoretical input on energy and climate change.
- Familiarization with methods of creating an action plan for each school in order to save energy and raise the awareness of the school community in climate change.
- Familiarization with methods of coordinating energy-saving actions (organizing an energy group, energy council, energy tour at the school, etc.).
- Implementation of energy saving soft measures at school.
- Introduction to recording and processing data methods.
The methodological process of the implementation of the program has been structured on the basis of the following 10 steps:
- Define an energy group for the school
- Define an energy council for the school
- Organize an energy tour of the energy council
- Study of the energy situation of the school (raise awareness on climate change issues)
- Energy tour at the heating room of the school with the energy team
- Data processing – Action Plan for energy saving and raise awareness on climate change
- Create a campaign to promote the implementation of the action plan in the school community
- Apply energy saving measures
- Make proposals for changes to the building’s infrastructure
Evaluate overall implementation of the program
The implementation of the program will be followed by a research framework. Aim of the research is to track the pilot implementation of the program and together with the research data that will be collected articulate a more comprehensive study that will be used by the Municipality of Athens in order to act in the direction of energy saving and promoting more sustainable practices in all the municipal schools.
The 19 trainers that implemented the 2 training seminars of the 200 teachers had been previously trained in the principles, methodology and objectives of the program “OPEN SOCIETIES AND SCHOOLS IN CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY TRANSITION (CLIMATE SCHOOL Be.At)” on a 4 days (30 hours) extended seminar that also took place in Athens during 12th -15th April 2018 (“Training of the Trainers” seminar). The “Training of the Trainers” seminar was implemented by a team of Greek experts and teachers together with trainers of the German Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU) with the coordination of the social cooperative ”Wind of Renewal /Anemos Ananeosis” and the Municipality of Athens.
The 200 teachers from both primary and secondary education will participate in a total of 24 hours of training (6 hours in the spring of 2018, followed by 14 hours in September and 4 hours in May 2019). The trained teachers will work for the implementation of the program in the school year 2018-2019, starting from September 2018.
The program “OPEN SOCIETIES AND SCHOOLS IN CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY TRANSITION (CLIMATE SCHOOL Be.At)” constitutes a collaboration between the Municipality of Athens, the educational community, the Social cooperative “Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal”, the German citizens initiative Respekt für Griechenland e.V. / Respect for Greece (Berlin) and the German Unabhängiges Institut für Umweltfragen / UfU. It aims to the mobilization of the educational community, 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. The program is under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Education
The program was evaluated and selected for funding by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), which is a project financing instrument by the German 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 cross-border dialogue and cooperation as well as exchange of knowledge and experience.
WELCOMMON Hostel opens its doors officially on 14/6, alongside the opening of an art exhibition on “TRAVEL”.
We start our new journey with WELCOMMON Hostel, as well as the development of other “trips” that we continue (the social and green economy, social innovation in health, energy saving and climate protection in schools, social inclusion, the energy transition and) or completed (such as the innovative WELCOMMON refugee center). We thus decided to symbolically combine the officially opening of the WELCOMMON Hostel with an art exhibition with the theme “TRAVEL”. Which means a trip for recreation, a journey of immigration or refuge, a journey to new ideas, a trip to the past, a trip to nature, a trip to art and creation, a real trip, a virtual trip or reading a book, a trip together with friends or self-awareness journey, a journey to colors, senses, music.
In the “TRAVEL” exhibition, creators from Kassos island, are involved – we chose Kassos because it is an island that knows well these various aspects of the “journey”. Take part: Alexandros Giorgos, Varkaxidis Kostas, Glytsi Angela, Dagleris Thanasis, Kilimandzou Athena, Magou – Karachaliou Litsa, Nikolaaraki Ioanna, Rukunaki Maria Blacksmith Sophia, Halkitis Lilian, Hanuška Olga, Chatziantoniou Rea, Fountis Konstantinos
The works of the Kassiotis creators will be exhibited from June 14th to June 30th in the special “Dialogue Hall” that we have created at WELCOMMON HOSTEL to host exhibitions, events, meetings, seminars, workshops. It is also the first stop on a collaborative journey started by the social cooperatives “ANEMOS ANANEOSIS / WIND OF RENEWAL” (initiator of the WELCOMMON Hostel) and “KASSIOS
You can contact us from HERE, and even book in advance your accommodation.
The WELCOMMON Hostel is a hostel in the center of Athens, an innovative proposal for sustainable tourism, innovation, art, social and job integration based on the idea of “community”, initiated by the social cooperative ANEMOS ANANEOSIS / WIND OF RENEWAL.
The WELCOMMON Hostel is a seven-floor facility for people of all ages. We would like to welcome you during your visit to Athens. We can also help you plan your stay in the city. WELCOMMON is not just a hostel, it is also part of a social experiment, a center for innovation and art, as well as social and job integration for Greeks, migrants and refugees.
We can organize your study trip in the city and provide details about interesting social events and groups; we can also supply you with all necessary information on other Greek cities, an island or a mountainside; we can connect you with cycling groups, or let you know the secrets of culinary delights, we can host your seminar or workshop; we can also host a painting exhibition or a cultural event.
Be sure to CONTACT US before arriving in Athens, let us know about your needs and your interests!
The Hostel, Welcome in Common
You have a variety of options for accommodation in WELCOMMON; you may like to share an eight-bed dormitory with your friends or other travelers; or you may prefer to stay in a five-bed room, a four-bed room, a three-bed room, a twin or double bed room or a single; you may need a cheap room or you may be willing to pay a little more for some extra perks; or you may like to go for a room with a balcony. Regardless of what you select, all rooms are comfortable, clean and attractive; a lot has been artistically designed with reused items, always with your comfort in mind.
How is WELCOMMON Hostel different?
WELCOMMON Hostel means welcome in common – together. It is not only an opportunity to stay in a good place in Athens, the Greek capital; it is also a way to:
– enjoy your stay in the city,
– discover its social, cultural and environmental side,
– exchange experiences and ideas,
– learn and “share”; you can participate in activities we organize (art exhibits, non-formal education, music events, visits to cultural sites and activities, etc…) or you can organize something yourself (e.g. a concert, painting classes or even give a speech!).
Training for social and employment issues
Although the hostel is no longer a refugee hosting center and has been refurbished into a modern facility, two floors of the WELCOMMON Hostel are used as an open center for social empowerment and inclusion. The aim is to create new employment opportunities for everyone in areas such as upcycling, ethnic cuisines, culture, green / cyclic economy, energy efficiency and others. Our societies must not accept generations being lost, we must not leave young persons, Greeks, migrants, refugees behind.
We offer classes (e.g. for language, painting, puppet show, music etc) with the support of volunteers to refugees, migrants, local people, tourists; we work for the empowerment and training of our guests and design interactive workshops for the professional training and promotion of the abilities and qualifications of refugees, especially the young persons, along with Greek nationals, in order to be able to find their way in our societies for the benefit of our societies.
As a visitor of Athens you could participate in an event or even present a topic to other guests or visitors in our WELCOMMON Hostel, in our meeting corners, in our “classrooms”, or during drinking a juice, a coffee or a herbal tea in our café or in our socializing bar and restaurant “In Common”. It is real!
Discover the other side of the city
Your stay in the WELCOMMON Hostel is also a chance for you to discover what is going on in the city. You could join initiatives working for the transformation of the city and its environmental protection, you could contact human rights groups or initiatives working with the unemployed, young people or for the inclusion of the refugees. There is an interesting, hidden side of the city, a real live and fresh city within the city; our community is ready to host you and work with you.
You help us boost the social impact of our project
When you choose to stay with us you contribute to the employment of a fantastic group of people, consisting of a number of long-term unemployed Greeks, migrants and refugees who have settled in Greece.
The first step is crucial: we want to be financially and socially sustainable, we try to improve our services, to make our hostel more convenient, friendly and live, more artistic and social. But the next step is also very important to us; we are committed to investing any profits in social and environmental improvements, in the transition to an energy-efficient and green economy, in creating a new center for the most vulnerable; we also aim to contribute to reducing the energy poverty of households, offering them know-how and support so that they can exit a difficult situation through social empowerment and energy efficiency.
You can feel the history of WELCOMMON
The WELCOMMON Hostel has a quite uncommon, interesting history. For many years the building was used as a public clinic. During the Greek economic crisis, in February 2013, the clinic was shut down and merged with a bigger hospital. We, the social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal –working for the promotion of the social and green innovation and economy– began renting the building in August 2016. We refurbished it in order to transform it into an innovative center – WELCOMMON – for the hosting and social inclusion of the most vulnerable refugees. The project was not simply meant to be for the refugees but with the refugees –working with them for their benefit, as well as that of the neighborhood and the local community. It became one of the most innovative and creative centers for hosting, empowering and socially including refugees, based on the idea of “empowerment through the community”. It was supported by the Development Agency of the Municipality of Athens and the UNHCR. But these agencies decided that refugees should be hosted only in apartments, there is no need for transition structures. Read about this HERE. The center closed in March 2018.
We decided to start refurbishing the seven-floor facility located in the centre of Athens, and to transform it into a HOSTEL, but not just any kind of hostel! Now we are running the WELCOMMON Hostel, a social hostel combining sustainable tourism with social and cultural activities and job integration for Greeks, migrants and refugees. We aim for Welcommon to be a social experiment, a centre of innovation and art, and for social and employment integration. And of course a hub where travellers can get insider’ information to organize their trip in the city, discover interesting social events and groups, but also information on other Greek cities, Islands or villages.
Learn about our history, contribute to the change
You can learn about our model, a community model, for the protection but also the inclusion of refugees, migrants and Greeks. It is a model we could adjust for vulnerable social groups, too. Although the center for refugees closed, you can experience some of our new activities, participating in workshops, language and painting, photo exhibitions, video or info-material. But you can also meet some of our previous guests, working now for the WELCOMMON Hostel, being part of our new community.
We are part of the social change we want to see happen
Athens is a city in crisis but at the same time one can see a real change if one decides to be part of the social and ecological change. We have decided to be part of this social change.
In the WELCOMMON Hostel we can introduce you to the world of Greece’s social economy and you can learn about its strengths and weaknesses. You can also contribute with your ideas and experience.
WELCOMMON, was an accommodation and social inclusion center for refugees, initieted by the social cooperative, ANEMOS ANANEOSIS / WIND OF RENEWAL, featured four important innovations:
1.Overhauling of old building in the center of the urban fabric. We rented and upgraded –at minimum cost and with voluntary work –a 3200 m2 building in the centre of Athens that had remained closed since 2013 (ex hospital). We overhauled it and created a model community centre with a hosting capacity of up to 160-180 refugees. In total, 600 refugees from 22 countries (half of them kids) were hosted between October 2016 and February 28, 2018 (when the centered closed), upgrading and revitalizing the Exarcheia neighborhood (near Kanigos Square).
2.Accommodation for the most vulnerable groups of refugees and in need of urgent care, such as: people with chronic diseases, serious psychological disorders, disabilities, victims of torture, sexual abuse and trafficking, pregnant women and families with newborns. The residents of Welcommon included 40 newborn babies and a number of pregnant women.
3.Μodel facility for empowerment and care, based on the idea of ‘’community’’ and combining safe accommodation with social inclusion and job integration of people with high vulnerability. We provided a social clinic, psycho-social support, non-formal education, support for kids who needed to register in Greek schools, social support services and job integration processes. Our “community model” can be suitable also for other communities and neighborhoods – especially areas that have collapsed socially and economically and need to berevitalized on a new basis. It was organized on the basis of the needs of the community and was successful thanks to wide participation and extensive collaborations.
4. Search for solutions for decent work both for refugees/immigrants and unemployed Greeks, in common /together with them and in innovative sectors.
The WELCOMMON center was our proposal for the role that the social economy could play in inclusion issues, combining the hosting of vulnerable persons with new models of social inclusion, empowerment and mobilization of people in need in general, not just refugees. We cooperated with many social organizations –including 15 universities, students and more than 230 volunteers from all over the world during the operation of the center. Many social groups, MEPs and MPs, international organizations and representatives of municipalities visited us.
It was a project in cooperation with the UNHCR and the Development Agency of the Municipality of Athens. It was a pity that the two institutions decided on January 18, 2018 to “discontinue the collective accommodation in WELCOMMON starting March 1, 2018, in order to focus on accommodation in apartments, which facilitates independent living. After their decision to stop financing the housing program for the refugees we decided to try to continue our innovative work by financing our initiatives through the Hostel rather than depend on third actors. We are committed to striving for maximizing the benefit for society. We are active in social, human and environmental rights, we can’t do less than needed in our times. We are convinced that acting in common on an integrated plan we can solve problems in a win-win manner.