WELCOMMON HOSTEL in the list of the 20 “hotest destinations” proposed by Hostelling International Canada

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These are 20 of the hottest destinations to visit in 2020…
And, our WELCOMMON HOSTEL in the list of the 20 “hotest destinations”!

December 18, 2019

It feels like Thanksgiving was five minutes ago and Easter was last week, but here we are at the end of 2019. And if you’ve got any cash left after Christmas shopping, it’s time to book a getaway in the New Year. So whip out the calendar and get planning—from the ends of the Earth to your own backyard, these are 20 of the hottest destinations to visit in 2020.

Hostelling International Canada proposes:
“9. Athens
Out of the ruins of millennia-old landmarks (and the rubble of a much more recent financial crisis) emerges one of Europe’s most exciting – and affordable – destinations. Athens appears on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 for its great-value food and drink scene, long list of free attractions (the Parthenon doesn’t cost a cent), and friendly exchange rate.
Book your bed at the recently opened Welcommon Hostel, a sustainable seven-floor property run by an eco-friendly co-operative”

The experience of an american student volunteering in Welcommon Hostel teaching english to refugees

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Hello. I am Hope.
From late September to late November I volunteered at Welcommon Hostel with Wind of Renewal.
Though stressful, this was an incredible experience. When I started by shadowing the English-language teacher’s classes, I enjoyed getting to observe and then help with pronunciation and spelling when needed. It was challenging at that point in trying to think about how I would lead my classes as each class was so different and what I would teach them.
When it got closer to the time of my teaching I was incredibly nervous. I have never taught in such a capacity before and I only speak English. Planning and creating lessons was hard because I didn’t have much structure to follow. Welcommon Hostel and Wind of Renewal lets the volunteers lead the class how they want and I did not know what things English language classes are supposed to cover.
However, it became a lot easier to create the lessons when the students would give input into what they wanted to learn and I would try to base the class around their interests as much as possible. Not only did it make teaching the class easier, but the students were more engaged and the class was overall more fun! It also got easier when I got an English Language textbook. Having a book showed me the format that should be followed and how to teach the tenses in the best way possible.
On the last day of classes when I put a verb on the board and made them conjugate the word in every tense and create a sentence using the conjugated verb, seeing the progress the students had made from their respective first classes was so rewarding. On my last day of teaching, I tested the students on what we had learned. I felt this beneficial as it would help the next teachers (who were sitting in) see where the students were at in their English-language speaking abilities. As well, I was able to get answers to some of the questions I had when teaching as the students vocally told me they enjoyed the class, and would sometimes tell me during class what they wished I would do better (speak slower, spend more time focusing on teaching, having a more accessible way to communicate across the language barrier, etc).
My time at Welcommon, while challenging, was incredibly rewarding and pushed me in ways I truly have never been pushed before.

“Wind of Renewal”, six years of innovation and activities with social and ecological impact

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The end of the year is an opportunity to review activities, redesign and develop new initiatives. Wind of Renewal is in this process, entering its 6th anniversary, although it looks like we have already closed a few decades while operating. During these years we have achieved rich work on social innovation and economy, climate protection, energy transition and energy model change. Our work reflects on all 5 of the European distinctions we have received over the years for our work. But what seems outward is only a small part of the energy and soul-giving we are giving.

2019 was a difficult but also an exciting year for the Wind of Renewal, the social partnership we created with a small group of people willing to contribute to the changes that our society and world need. We have had many difficulties but continue to be empowered or start new interesting activities and approaches that have significant social and ecological impact.

The WELCOMMON Refugee Center was closed at the end of February 2018, after 1.5 years of operation, because, as we were told, “no such innovation-based transition centers were needed” (our model was based on empowerment through creation of communities) and the Funding for housing of vulnerable refugees stopped. We were financially covered all the remaining integration and empowerment programs that were demanding and innovative. It was expected that the “big refugee centers” would close (WELCOMMON was treated like a… camp, Schisto or Moria!). We were closed and all refugees had to move to apartments and find their way there. During the operation of the centre, we hosted in a cooperative spirit, in a community based model, around 160 refugees -a total of 600 people over a period of 1.5 years- , from 22 ethnicities, who spoke 14 languages​​ and dialects and represented almost all major religions. They were some of the most vulnerable among refugees. It is no coincidence that we have hosted very vulnerable people (victims of rape, trafficking, people with disabilities, serious health problems or even cancer, severe psychological or even psychiatric problems, single parent families with many children, the majority being women and children, while 41 healthy children were born during the operation of our center!).

But most importantly for our model, WELCOMMON (Welcome in Common, that is, not only for refugees but also #withrefugees and with / for the local community) was the empowerment of refugees through the creation of a “community” , through art therapy, the participation of refugees themselves in the operation of the center as well as in actions to improve the neighborhood or to help other people of all backgrounds. It was for many a new beginning – and on a solid basis in their lives – no just an occasion to sleep in a decent place and eat a plate of food:

  • changing roles for empowerment,
  • providing the chance for a refugee to become a teacher, to take responsibilities, roles, to offer services to others in need, to showcase his/her knowledge,
  • to travel as a “tourist” to overcome the fear and trauma of the dangerous journey to “safety”,
  • to cook for the locals to get acquainted with the different cuisines,
  • to bring the children back to normal, safe society and context.

It is no coincidence that even today we receive hundreds of visitors from every continent who want to know about our “experiment” or that it has become a “source” for university education, research and analysis.

When the housing program stopped abruptly, despite the shock we experienced from such a sharp decision because we had to close the innovative center within 40 days, move all visiting refugees to places they did not know or did not want to go, lose an experienced personnel of 30 people, think about what we would do with the huge building that we had rented for social purpose and we had spent a lot of money to make it safe and decent.

From WELCOMMMON center for refugees towards an innovative WELCOMMON HOSTEL with social and ecological impact

Despite the financial and other difficulties we faced, we decided to create and implement within 3 months – without the staff, grants, funding and time needed – a social entrepreneurship project that could ensure financial sustainability and have a positive social and ecological impact , to continue our project but also combine it with green innovation.

So, we designed and implemented an innovative Hostel – WELCOMMON HOSTEL – aiming for a sustainable tourism model. We want to host as clients tourists, travelers groups, schools, universities and individuals who seek their own journey to leave a positive rather than a negative, social impact. That is what we call sustainable tourism. At the same time, WELCOMMON HOSTEL wanted to be transformed into a center of social empowerment and integration, green and social innovation, intercultural dialogue, new creative and functional solutions to social and ecological problems, a space for culture and expression.

And we can say that, despite the difficulties and obstacles, or sometimes the cynicism and indifference that we encounter and gives rise to feelings of frustration, we are on a very good road today.

The next day…

We have many plans for this coming year and the next decade, starting from 1/1/2020, on sustainable tourism, social inclusion and empowerment, social entrepreneurship, social and green innovation, fossil fuel independency, transition to renewable energy, education on social and environmental sustainability, job creation in the social and green sectors.

  • We continue the theoretical and practical training of young scientists in Greece and Berlin so that they can work professionally on energy saving and on the implementation of natural heating / cooling systems and we conduct free-of-cost school energy audits in the municipalities of Ag. Demetriou, Vrilissia and Kaisariani to make schools more energy efficient and contribute to climate protection (EUKI YESClima).
  • We are extending the very important experience and educational material on climate action and energy saving in schools under the EUKI “Climate Schools Be.Ath (Athens-Berlin) program and in new schools of various areas, combining a pedagogical approach and technical suggestions.

  • We are all involved (clients, volunteers, refugees, friends) in climate actions.

  • We participate in the effort to strengthen the ecosystem of the social economy through our participation in the Social Entrepreneurship Forum, European networks, activities and workshops as well as the organizing of numerous training and dialogue workshops.
  • We support local initiatives and actions of social interest and social innovation.
  • We continue to engage numerous volunteers from every corner of the globe (hosted in the volunteer space at WELCOMMON HOSTEL) with our innovative and inclusive @DaysofWelcommon and #GreenSocialInnovationESC programs for empowerment and social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, green social innovation, art and culture,  open to all: locals, volunteers, travelers – tourists, refugees and immigrants.
  • WELCOMMON HOSTEL has already become a center for social and ecological activities, (inter) cultural events, seminars, education, workshops, poetry, music, theater, stand-up comedy, youth exchanges and ErasmusPlus programs, in other words a meeting center for young people and students from every corner of the globe.
  • Almost all of our clients are actively supporting our choices for a sustainable tourism model that contributes to reducing the ecological footprint and empowering the local community while rejecting discrimination and exclusion.

  • We are gradually converting WELCOMMON HOSTEL not only into a social space, but also into a greener hostel that, step by step, reduces dependence on fossil fuels (oil) and becomes more and more “solar“. It is not an easy way but we have already started with the reduction of oil use with the immediate aim of reducing the use of oil for heating water by at least 80%. The next phase is to heat and cool the building (3200 square meters, capacity of 167 people in separate rooms of 2,3,4 people or dormitories of 4 or 8 people) with natural systems as well as generate as much electricity as possible from renewable sources.

  • We apply a waste minimizing system, especially reducing one-way plastics, increasing seperation at source and recycling, while the whole WELCOMMON HOSTEL was based on a rational upcycling and re-use, which is actually an example of how we can combine reuse with high quality aesthetic effect and functionality.

  • We are involved or working with many European and international networks, universities, social agencies across the globe and we are part of the change we want to see happen, not just talk about it.

  • We continue a project that is very innovative across a range of sectors – not just one – despite the difficulties and obstacles that exist in our country, such as the difficulty of accessing financial tools for innovative actions (but even financing simple needs), social crisis, lack of social awareness, individualism, limited volunteering and effective participation in activities that have a social and environmental impact. But, on the other hand, we are lucky enough to be with people from all over the world who gove a part of themselves and their souls, people who appreciate our work and stay involved, people who leave the warmth of their home and come to help without waiting a materialistic benefit, but receive experiences, feelings, knowledge. So we continue our creative journey through 2020.
  • If you would like to know more, join in or help send a message to and we’ll get back to you right away.
  • You can also follow our work on social media:

ANEMOΣ ΑΝΑNEΩΣΗΣ / WIND of RENEWAL (social cooperative for social – green economy)




WELCOMMON HOSTEL, an innovative hostel with social and green impact


European Action Plan for the Social Economy: confirmed!

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On December 1st, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen stated in her mission letter to Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit: “You will develop a European Action Plan for the social economy to enhance social innovation”.

Social Economy Europe (SEE) President, Juan Antonio Pedreño, commented: “I would like to congratulate President Von der Leyen for this courageous decision of boosting the social economy across the EU to co-construct an economy that works for people and the planet. We are ready to cooperate with Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and with the entire Commission to enter this new era of EU policies for the social economy”.

SEE has been consistently calling for a European Action Plan for the Social Economy since 2014. In 2018 the SEE presented a the policy paper “The future of EU policies for the Social Economy: towards a European Action Plan” that was submitted, in cooperation with the Social Economy Intergroup, to former Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen.

President Pedreño added: “This opportunity is the result of a collective success of all social economy actors that working together contribute to build a more prosperous and sustainable European Union. I would also like to acknowledge the fundamental support that the social economy has received from many Institutions, Member States and the Social Economy Intergroup and its members. Today I would like to pay tribute to the tireless commitment of our friend Jens Nilsson, former co-Chair of the Intergroup, who left us in 2018”.

Furthermore, this announcement enhances the need to renew the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup to work hand in hand with the European Commission to develop a successful European Action for the Social Economy.

About the social economy in Europe:

The social economy is an essential part of the European economic and social landscape formed by a diversity of enterprises and organisations such as cooperativesmutualsassociationsfoundationssocial enterprises or paritarian institutions of social protection.  In the EU there are 2.8 million social economy enterprises and organisations, that employ 13.6 million people and account for 8% of the EU’s GDP.

Social Economy Europe (SEE) is the voice of the 2.8 million social economy enterprises and organisations.

YESClima project: Greater Energy Efficiency for Athens Buildings

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EUKI’s YESclima project held a workshop in mid-September on “Energy efficiency in buildings and natural techniques to cool/heat buildings”. One topic at this workshop was a presentation of the results of energy audits, conducted by students trained in the project.

The Greek organisation Wind of Renewal hosted this event. They invited the project partners – the University of Cadiz, the Energy Agency of Cadiz, the Free University of Berlin and the Secretariat for Future Studies – to the Welcommon Hostel in Athens. Representatives of other organisations such as the Center for Renewable Energy Sources & Saving (CRES), the Hellenic Passive House Institute and the Mayor of Agios Dimitrios also took part in the event.

Presentation during the YESclima Conference

The participants exchanged on the opportunities and challenges of energetic refurbishment of public buildings. Photo: YESclima

At the conference, eight students from Greece and Spain presented the results of energy audits at schools and other buildings in the regions of Cadiz (Spain) and Attica (Greece). The students had developed proposals for energy saving measures. These primarily focus on natural cooling and heating techniques and a change in the attitude of those who use the buildings. The students used energy bills to analyse the current situation in the buildings. They also reported on a study trip to Berlin at the end of August where they found out about natural technologies on cooling and heating in Berlin and Brandenburg.

Young people build house from straw bales

During a study trip to Berlin, the students built houses from straw bales, clay and wood. Photo: YESclima

The many experts present shared ideas about the opportunities and challenges of the work required to upgrade the energy performance of public buildings. “The difficulties are massive but the benefits are even greater,” commented Evi Tzanakaki from the CRES Centre. Stefanos Pallantzas from the Hellenic Passive House Institute added that action was needed quickly.

For example, George Drallos, a Board member of EBHE, the Greek Solar Industry Association, presented specific concepts. He emphasised: “Greece is the first country in Europe that has established significant production of thermal solar collectors and storage units.” However, energy efficiency also depends on how people use the buildings, commented Konstantinos Karampourniotis, Co-President of Living Prospects: “You make a difference if you change your user behaviour.”

More events for the project will be taking place in the next few weeks. YESclima, a project of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), promotes greater energy efficiency in public buildings in Greece and Spain and particularly highlights the possible positive effects for the labour market.

Presentation of the results of the project “Climate Schools Ath.Be”

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Open Event

Presentation of the results of the project to the Municipality of Athens & the Ministry of Education


Friday, 29th November 2019

Duration: 17.00pm – 20.00pm

Πολιτιστικό Κέντρο «Μελίνα»

Ηρακλειδών 66, Αθήνα 118 51

In the framework of implementation of the project “Open Societies and Schools in Climate Protection and Energy Transition, Climate school Be.At” the closing event of the project will take place on Friday 29 November 2019 between 17:00 and 20:00 at the “Melina” Cultural Center (66 Herakleidon street, Thiseio).

The event includes a short presentation of the results of the program and an open discussion of the experiences of the schools by students and teachers and a presentation of the toolboxes.

Moreover, during the event, it will be presented the educational research and the Action Plan on energy saving and climate change in the schools of the Municipality of Athens that were implemented.

Please see the program of the event: EN_event 29 11 2019 

17:00 – 17:15 Attendance
17:15-17:50 •  Dimitra-Ines Angeli-Lykoudi

Executive Counselor for the Child of Municipality of Athens

•  Kostas Bakoyiannis

Mayor of Athens

•  Sofia Zacharaki

Deputy Minister of Education

•  George Patoulis

Governor of Attica Region

•  Ulrike Leis / Miriam Dirichs

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)


Video created by EUKI: Good Practices on climate action


Open Discussion: The partnership & the impact of the project
17:50-18:20 •  Dimitra-Ines Angeli-Lykoudi, Municipality of Athens

•  Reiner Schiller-DickhutHilde Schramm, Respect for Greece

•  Nikos Chrysogelos, Wind of Renewal

•  Oliver Ritter- Florian Kliche, Independent Institute of Environmental Issues / UfU

The results of the project up today
18:20-18:30 The contribution of the “Open Schools for Climate Protection and Energy Saving 2017-2019, Berlin-Athens” program in the school community.

The involvement of the pilot schools’ communities in project activities.

Kostis Kontogiannis

Academic coordinator of the program

18:30-18:45 The educational research implemented & its results

Panagiotis Piliouras

Coordinator of the research context & co-author of the Action Plan



The experience of pupils, teachers and students’ parents from their participation in the program. Open discussion.


Videos created by the pupils during the implementation of the program’s implementation.

Videos from the climate campaign.


19:15-19:45 The Action Plan for awareness raising of energy consumption and climate change in the school communities.

Maria Dimopoulou

Curriculum design and development of educational materials& co-author of the Action Plan

Getting to know the educational suitcases with the equipment of the program

Demonstration of the educational suitcases with the measuring instruments used by the pupils to measure, record and analyze the energy situation of their school and formulate an energy saving action plan.

The demonstration will be implemented by the researchers: Eva Grigoriadou & Maya Moschandreou


The identity of the program:

Participation of 200 teachers from 71 schools of the Municipality of Athens in the multi-level program of training, research, raising awareness and action on climate and energy savings. Partners include the Municipality of Athens, the Social Cooperative Wind of Renewal, the German Citizens’ Initiative Respect for Greece and the German Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU).

The European Climate Initiative (EUKI) 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. For more Information on the

The program is under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs



Important for our WELCOMMON HOSTEL and sustainable tourism: Single-use plastic free tourism

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Single-use plastic free tourism: This is important for our #WELCOMMONHostel

We are glad to inform you that our innovative hostel is participating and hosting activities and events focusing on sinle-use plastic free tourism.

Indeed, in our WELCOMMON Hostel, we are devoted to combine sustainable tourism, green & environmental activities, social integration of refugees, social and green innovation, intercultural coexistence, non-formal education and intercultural courses for all (locals, travelers /tourists, volunteers, refugees, migrants) as well as climate protection activities.

Being tourism one of the largest industries in the world could come with responsibility and the potential to make a real difference if we work together on common goals. We agree that sustainable tourism positively contributes to economic development worldwide, to respect and intercultural understanding. Travelling can be a great learning experience for those involved and has stimulated protection, conservation and pride of natural and cultural heritage. However, like other sectors, the tourism sector can also have a negative impact on communities and the environment like carbon emissions, human exploitation, overcrowding and creation of waste and pollution. This pledge concerns the latter:


Plastic waste and tourism

The world is producing more than 300 million tons of plastic. Each year around 8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.As a tourism industry, we suffer from the consequences of plastic pollution. Holidaymakers are looking for pristine beaches, unpolluted nature and cultural sights. Plastic pollution negatively affects visual attractiveness of destinations, contributes to pollution of soil and water, affects animal, plant and human health, and leads to biodiversity loss.


Unfortunately, our sector and holiday makers also contribute to the problem. For example, in the Mediterranean plastic represents 95% of the waste floating in the sea and lying on its beaches. With tourists visiting the region, marine litter increases by 40% each summer. Other research shows that waste generated per hotel room can be twice as large as an average household in the same region.  We acknowledge this contribution and recognise that international effort is needed in the entire tourism sector and supply chain to support the transition to a circular economy for plastics. The sector can contribute to reach this goal involving holidaymakers, local communities and destinations. As many destinations are economically dependent on the tourism industry, plastic pollution threatens their future income.

We applaud initiatives like the ‘New Plastics Economy Global Commitment’ led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UNEP, other initiatives of plastic producers, users and recyclers, and increased legislation to reduce single-use plastics and plastic pollution. With this International Tourism Plastic Pledge we want to scale-up efforts and join forces internationally to increase our contribution to a circular economy for plastics to reduce plastic pollution.


We feel the urgency for the sector to take action. There is momentum to join forces to create more impact. The pledge serves three goals:
1. Create more 
awareness on this issue in the tourism sector and destinations and showcase that the sector can contribute to solutions;
2. Create more 
impact by stimulating the implementation of actions in the tourism sector to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics in the international tourism industry;
Exchange of knowledge to raise awareness and accelerate positive impact.

With this pledge we want to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals as set by the UN. In particular the following four: 8 Decent work & Economic growth; 12 Sustainable consumption and production patterns; 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; and 17 Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

You can sleep peacefully knowing that your stay in our WELCOMMON Hostel will help sustainability, climate, local neighborhood, vulnerable communities, people all over the world

#climateaction #climateprotection #climateemergency #energytransition #energyefficiency #GoGreen #social #impact #innovation #socialinclusion #socEnt #hostel #sustainabletourism #socialcooperative #GoGreen #athens #volunteers Days of Welcommon

Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2019

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Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2019

Discussing the present and future of Social Solidarity Economy in Greece

Athens, 29-30 November 2019, Impact Hub Athens (28 Karaiskaki st., Athens)

The Social Entrepreneurship Forum organizes for the sixth year in the row the annual open meeting of actors and enterprises active in the field of Social (and) Solidarity Economy. Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2019 includes the following events:

Friday 29/11, 10:00-13:00          

Workshop: ” Greek Cooperative Legislation: from fragmentation to unification

Friday 29/11, 18:00-21:00          

Central panel: “The future of public policies for Social Solidarity Economy in Greece

Saturday 30/11, 10:00-13:00              

Workshop: “Social Solidarity Economy and gender

Saturday 30/11, 10:00 -13:00             

Workshop: “Social Solidarity Economy and environmental sustainability

Saturday 30/11, 14:00-17:00              

Workshop: “Tools for the development of sustainable energy communities

In the framework of Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2019, a closed meeting will be held titled “Support centers for SSE: tools, practices and prospects”, Friday 29/11 (14:00 – 17:00) which is addressed to members of SSE support centers in Greece.

In order to express interest for participation, you must complete the relevant form.

Co-organised with Coordination of SSE Actors of Athens

In cooperation with Heinrich Boell Foundation Thessaloniki Office

About Social Entrepreneurship Forum

The Social Entrepreneurship Forum is an open platform for the promotion of social entrepreneurship based on shared values, principles and goals. The main purpose of the SEF is to stimulate the dialogue among social economy enterprises, stakeholders and support organizations, to boost efficient networking and cooperation, to develop appropriate dedicated financial-economic tools, as well as to contribute in the self-organisation of the community. The Social Entrepreneurship Forum 2015 reached a Code of Conduct for Social Enterprises.

The social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal is a founding and active member of the Social Entrepreneurship Forum

Are you interesting in volunteering in Athens for Green and Social Innovation?

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The social enterprise Wind of Renewal (Anemos Ananeosis in Greek) is looking for European Solidarity Corps’ participants from Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherland, Sweden, Norway and Spain interesting in volunteering in Athens for Green and Social Innovation. Please, if you are interesting in participate, send an email and a letter of interest, plus your cv to

Wind of Renewal (Anemos Ananeosis in Greek) aims at promoting, innovating, and defining new forms of social and green practices adopting a sustainable approach (see our web site:

Welcommon Hostel represents our main project, through which we want to combine the social inclusion and job integration of refugees and young people in Athens, considering and raising awareness about energy and green transition (see our website: ). Our project was born as a way of facing the crises that have struck our country such as: rising unemployability, energy poverty, isolation of marginalized groups and criminality in Athens.

On the one side, the main goal of the project is to provide different activities to children in school age, teens, and adult refugees/migrants by adopting a non-formal education approach. We want to improve their soft and hard skills so that they can also contribute to their host communities. On the other side, we want to raise awareness about green economy and related innovative practices, since the lack of knowledge about these issues is connected to social problems like the social exclusion of marginalized groups.

These results can be achieved by creating a strong multicultural network to exchange best practices and by sharing experiences for sustainable solutions. In particular, the volunteers who will join the project will be the main protagonists of its success, and this experience can represent for them an opportunity to work in a multicultural environment with multifaceted needs, increasing their motivation for future engagement in solidarity activities.

What are the project’s long and short-term aims and how do they link to the objectives of the European Solidarity Corps?

Our first short-term aim is to promote social inclusion through non-formal educational activities covering a wide range of topics: environmental education, language lessons (mainly English, German, and Greek), painting, music lessons, theatre, dancing, handcraft by using recycling materials, and cooking lessons. As well, we would like to realize workshops on art therapy, gender issues, energy transition, reuse, recycling, fire prevention, and work on vocational training.Moreover,outdoor activities (e.g. visits to museums or to cultural centres) are strongly encouraged.Our non-formal approach is based on the knowledge that most of the participants are children who live in Camps in Athens and do not attend the formal school system, so this program is the only educational framework they would get.

Our second short-term aim is to provide a deep knowledge about green energy tools and push for their application through an exchange of experiences and good practices from experts, volunteers and refugees. In particular, we want to underline how all the participants in our project, refugees but also volunteers themselves, can exploit this knowledge in a job market that ismore and more oriented towards these topics, raising their employability and increasing their skills and competences for personal, civic and professional development.

Finally, in the long term, we want to gain and share experience and implement practices for societal change and support them through the creation of a strong European multicultural network. This network will create common future goalsin fighting unemployment and poverty. As well, given that the volunteers will work with vulnerable people in a multinational group, this will create empathy and solidarity, raise participants awareness and understanding of other cultures and countries while simultaneously supporting their own professional development.

The context of the volunteering activities we are planning and how these will deliver our identified results and impacts.

There is a range of activities that are already taken place at our Project. In particular, we focus on two main branches as described below:

A1: Non-Formal Education:

Language lessons, including English, German, Greek, but also other psycho-social activities, art, music, theater, photography for vulnerable groups will be based on the support given by supportive offices andsocial workers’ network we are in contact with. Besides, volunteers with experience in the educational/pedagogical field are always welcomed to share new methods and ideas in the following working field: mentoring, evaluation, job integration, consultation ofparticipants and volunteers, communication with children’s parents, creation and development of new projects on female empowerment or vocational training.

The aim of this activity is the empowering and the capacity-building of the participants. In order for this to happen, opportunities such as language lessons, art, music, theater, photographyupgrading and practicing existing or new skills in upcycling or crafts, are used as a motivation for children to prepare them to attend the national formal educational system or to help the children that already attend it. As well, we want to create the ground for adults’ access to the labour market.

A2: Environmental education and Energy transition:

We want to focus on environmental education and energy transition by combining the work of professionals on green and social innovation (we are currently working on two projects related to this, YESClima and Climate Schools Be.At, both financed by the EU Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Environment) with the enthusiasm, experience and fresh ideas of refugees and volunteers.

The latter, indeed, can share good examples and ideas related to energy saving and social innovative methods, practices for empowerment of refugees and social inclusion in our hosting societies. The final aim is to reduce economic/social disparities caused by unemployment and energy poverty through the empowerment of marginalized citizens by raising awareness about the potential of this field and the related green job opportunities.

Topics addressed by our project

  • Empowerment and social inclusion
  • Non-formal education and training
  • Climate action, environment and nature protection
  • Green transition, energy efficiency, green innovation
  • Co-existence, respect, collaboration
  • Inclusion

The volunteers will organise seminars, workshops and activities on social and green ivvovation topics, open to all: locals, volunteers, migrants, refugees, tourists, students.

The profile, background and needs of the volunteers involved and how they havebeen or will be selected

Participants to the project will be young people aged from 18 to 30 years old willing to express their personal commitment through voluntary service in another country within European Union.

Based on the planned activities, a volunteer will be allocated in particular activity based on the age, the experience and the interest he/she has for each one of the activities. The final selection will be in cooperation with the sending organisation and the volunteer. Furthermore, due to the multicultural and multilingual background we seek to admit applicants from both genders for every needed activity. We want all the participants to have equal rights, regardless of gender or cultural background and we will ensure equal chances to each participant. Factors like, experience, academic background and motivation will be taken into consideration for the choice of the participants.

For all participants we will ensure equal selection, confidentiality and no discrimination. The participants will be selected by reviewing the applications for the position and the cover letter from the volunteers who are interested in to participating. For volunteers with fewer opportunities or knowledge of the concept of the selected activity, relative training will be provided them before the beginning of the activity from the support of other participants and the staff of Wind of Renewal/AnemosAnameosis.

Α1 Non formal Education:

With regards to activity A1, participants should have experience in the field of education and teaching. It is very crucial for the volunteers to consider the needs and difficulties but also the challenges that will might face when teaching people from other countries. Furthermore, it is worth to be mentioned, that it is important to have people with different cultural background so that the teaching experience becomes more multicultural. Similar to teaching experience, for the implementation of the psychosocial activities, the participants need to be trained and conscious about social issues, and to use methodologies that will empower and contribute to the social inclusion of traumatised and vulnerable groups. We would prefer volunteers that have relevant studies in fields such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychologists, pedagogues, social workers but also people that have worked in similar institutions and have experience in working with children and/or multicultural groups.

A2 Environmental education and Energy Transition:

The purpose of this activity is for specialized volunteers in environmental studies, to make the participants of Welcommon and local community aware of the importance of the environment protection as the concept and the relevance of recycling. Moreover, to inform them about green energy or possible ideas of job integration in the green jobssector. Electric engineers, chemical engineers, and researchers on the field of energy transition, renewable energy resources, energy poverty and recycling are areas of action and education that the participants for this activity should have in order to be able to have the desirable outcomes.

Measures put in place to embed a quality learning process from the start of the project and support the volunteers in defining and meeting their learning objectives, organising their reflection, identification and documentation of the non-formal and informal learning outcomes acquired.Please remember to include the methods that support reflection and documentation of the learning outcomes in the daily timetable of each activity.

We will encourage our volunteers to send us their Europass Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Language Passport. In case they do not have it, we are willing to support them with the advice and systematically support of the volunteers coordinator and mentor.

All participants of the project approved within these frameworks are entitled to receive a Youthpass certificate, and thus recognition for their non-formal learning outcomes. It is important to participants’ employability, but also to our evaluation and for documenting and recognising learning outcomes of our European Solidarity Corps Program. The responsibility to issue the Youthpass certificates to the participants/volunteers, in case they wish to receive them, is on our organisation. Besides, a system for sharing tasks and responsibilities it has already been developed and it is described in the Regulation of Volunteers, that must be signed both by the representatives of Wind of Renewal and by the volunteers.

All the participants are provided with initial training and introduction from our volunteer coordinator. Together, they will organise their personal timetable and do any necessary adjustments. There will be continuous feedback and communication as described below and a final evaluation. On a weekly basis, meetings will be held to reflect on each activity’s group member. In addition, in the daily timetable of each activity that will be uploaded (google docs), there will be a folder for documenting the learning outcomes for the better coordination and follow-up of the teachers/ volunteers. Volunteers will have the possibility of sharing their everyday experience through a FB page created by and for them. Furthermore, there will be a special space on our website, only for European Solidarity Corps Volunteers that we will promote the actions of the Project.

We encourage the volunteers to carry out the online language course and assessments provided by the Commission but also to participate in tutoring and language lessons offered in Wind of Renewal/Anemos Anameosis. We also suggest them to carry out a self-reflection on the learning outcomes of the EVS activity (through the use of Youthpass).

The general manager and the volunteer coordinator are in charge of all the issues regarding the internal administration of Wind of Renewal/Anemos Anameosis, sharing of responsibilities and tasks between the personnel, the volunteers, the refugees, the locals and the guests/travelers hosted by Wind of Renewal/AnemosAnameosis as well as the communication with external stakeholders and partners.

Learning outcomes (i.e. knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviours) to be acquired/improved by participants in each project activity

Each planned activity of the project will focus on different skills and attitudes of the volunteers. Apart from the practical outcomes, the aim is to establish a community building using social and green innovation. Locals, Refugees, Immigrants, Volunteers from Europe will work together combining their knowledge and various experiences.  Eventually, the learning outcomes will be different according to the activity in which the participants will be involved in.

A1 Non-formal Education: Non-formal education consists one of the basic group activities that Wind of Renewal/Anemos Anameosis offers.

  • As a learning outcome of language classes, participants will gain experience in teaching to multilingual/multicultural groups and also, they will develop the ability to find alternative ways of communication given the possible difficulties that might be raised.
  • With regards to psycho-social activities, participants will gain the experience of 1-1 mentorship and will have the opportunity to create closer relationship with refugee children and adults.
  • Amongst the competences they will develop there is the participants’ capacity to use creative and innovative ideas and methods to a demanding and complex environment. Participants will gain substantial knowledge through this experience.
  • While the target group for this activity is multicultural and multinational, participants need to act differently referring not only to the psychological and social issues but also according to people’s different backgrounds.
  • Responsibility will be strongly acquired as long as good sense of teamwork.
  • During each activity participants will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge through practice, always in respect of human rights.
  • Volunteers will need to be organised, structured and self-sufficient in order to follow the institution’s daily activities.

 A2 Environmental education and Energy Transition: Participants of that activity will pass their knowledge on environmental topics, such as energy poverty and energy transition to a group of young people and refugees so for them to experience, understand and also exchange knowledge about environmental policies in other European countries.

  • Adaptability and creativity are needed.
  • The role of the volunteer will be to conduct research, collect and analyse data as well as to draft reports.
  • The participants in this activity will have the opportunity to get and exchange experience on topics such as energy transition and energy poverty by providing case studies from their countries of origin or other examples.
  • At the same time will be responsible to get further understanding about this topic and how is being implemented in Greece.
  • During each activity participants will have the opportunity to gain experience by working in a multicultural environment as well as to improve their knowledge through practice always in respect of human rights.
  • Volunteers need to be organised, structured and self-sufficient in order to follow the organisations’ daily activities.
  • Competences such as organizability, flexibility, creativity, determination, stability, respect for human rights, sense of giving, interest in refugee’s issues, love for children, dynamism are basic principles for the implementation of every activity.

Our project will make use of  

  • Youthpass Certificate
  • Europass Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Europass Language Passport

Number of volunteers

A1 Non-formal Education Individual Volunteering  12

A2 Environmental Education and Energy Transition 9

Activity Description – A detailed description of the activity

Non-Formal Education Program at Welcommon:

From Monday to Friday afternoon (from 14 until 18 o’clock), there is a kids-program for non-formal education at Welcommon where refugee/migrant children in school age (6 – 15 years) are able to do not only their homework but also different creative activities (max 10-15 children). The Volunteers will be providing an intercultural program covering, for example, painting, music, theatre, dancing, gardening, and handcrafts by using recycling materials.

The program must also includes Maths /Greek/ English lessons to prepare the children for the school.

These activities take place on the first and second floor of the facility. As well, we will organize regularly outdoor activities around the neighbourhood but also educational day trips (like museum, cultural centres, etc.). We are planning to find again a framework for the kids to be allowed to play in the afternoons at the schoolyard of the primary school close to the Hostel, so they can have a contact with the school environment.

For most of the participating children, our program is the only educational framework they get, so the aim is to give to the kids a stable setting and empower the kids through educational games. The volunteer will be first accompanying the activities so as to get to know the program, the participating children and the way of working. Later, they will be able to take over own activities and or create own projects.

Through network with the parents and other adult refugees of the community there is space for additional activities like sewing / upcycling clothes and other educational, creative or gender-based offers for different target groups and aims (for example women empowerment).

The volunteer will also have a interaction/network with local schools and other organisations or projects, will be able to share new methods and ideas and to create new concepts in the following working fields: mentoring, evaluation, job integration, consultation of participants and volunteers, communication with parents of participating children, creation and development of new projects towards female empowerment, vocational training, networking and building cooperation with other organisations (like Melissa, Heal into action, Caritas, …).

Language is the key to integration! We provide language lessons for teens, women and adult refugees and migrants, which want to learn a new language or to improve their language skills, to enhance their community competences and thereby increase their opportunities on the labour market, break isolation, empower themselves and promote their integration in society.

The lessons take place at Welcommon from Monday to Friday in the framework of our non-formal education activities. The main focus at the moment is on English and German lessons (opportunity/capacity for more languages). The lessons are divided into different levels to ensure similar language skills in each class and to achieve better results. The mainly focus of the lessons are on practical issues, learning useful vocabulary for their interactions and communication in daily life. We focus on one subject during each class with specific thematic e.g. ”meet and greet”, supermarket, school” etc. Learning useful vocabulary for their interactions in the country they are going. The material we use are from professional organizations, to ensure the teaching material is up to date. German classes are separated into a beginner and an advanced course.

The English class is separated into beginner or advanced and also in adults or teens, so we can provide a teaching method that is appropriate to their different needs. Also, we have a English class only for women. For new students we will also provide a literacy course twice a week if it is needed.

In Welcommon Hostel, there are specially designed teaching rooms with the capacity up to 25 students at the same time. The lessons are 1-1,5 hour each and every course has 2 or 3 times a week classis.

The courses are not certificated and are based on voluntariness, nevertheless we want our students and teacher to show continuity and stability to ensure a sustainable teaching for the community. We want to welcome everybody in the intercultural courses, they are open to all: volunteers, locals, refugees, migrants, guests/travels. Each person can be at the same time “student” and “teacher”.

The volunteer will participate in our weekly meeting and the weekly reflection/evaluation session. Also, all the volunteers are in daily interaction in person and through a group on social media.

The volunteers write reports about the progresses and used materials, methodologies, visited workshops.

Some of our participants also attend together in extra happenings of our Project like Football, cooking (international evenings), music events, language exchange evenings, board games events, to promote integration.

How many people can we host in our project

A1: Activity: Non-Formal Education

  • 5 persons  X 60 days (from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden etc)
  • 4 persons X 90 days (from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden etc)
  • 3 persons X 120 days (from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden etc)

A2. Activity: Environmental education and energy transition

  • 5 persons X 60 days (from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden etc)
  • 2 persons X 90 days  (from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden etc)
  • 2 persons X 120 days (from Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Norway, France, Sweden etc)