Magali and Salomé, two of our Volunteers: It was an amazing experience. We learnt many things: new cultures, languages.

By | Actions | No Comments

Hi we are Magali and Salome, we have spent some weeks volunteering with Anemos Ananeosis in Athens, in July and August 2021

Magali

A rich and memorable experience, that’s how I would describe the 7 weeks I spent volunteering with Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal in the Welcommon Hostel.  

Being a volunteer in the ESC project “Green Social Innovation for Young Persons” has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Volunteering with Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal here, in this inclusive hostel – Welcommon Hostel, implies doing so many different activities, discovering and learning a wide range of things. I did not expect to learn so much.  

Therefore, it is a tough task for me to summarize these 7 weeks that have been so rich and fulfilling. 

First, I would say that I have learnt so much from spending time with the refugees leaving within the hostel. I spent most of my time with them. Nearby the reception, there are artistic works made by Fatima and her class, they use this beautiful phrase to refer about refugees “brave travellers”. This phrase summarize perfectly my thoughts. I spent most of my time with the families, and I had never seen in my life so brave and generous people. They considered me as a member of their family, offered me food, and spent so many time talking, sharing and laughing in spite of the language barrier.  

They trusted me, enough to take care of their children, to bring me with them during their family activities (birthdays, Sundays at the beach, afternoon at the park, restaurants, circumcision party…) but also to share with me their deeply moving stories. 

I also spent a lot of time with the kids. First during the kid activities we organised; salt dough, masks, pizza, cake activities, but also going to the park every day or even spending time in the kids’ room. Of course, taking care of kids who used to live under the bombing or/and in a camp is pretty challenging. Each of them requires a special attention and dedication. But they are, on top of everything, full of love to give and receive.  

Then, I also spent a lot of time with my students giving and preparing the languages lessons. Once again, this ‘task’ was pretty challenging as I had to teach to a great variety of people. They were all very different: due to their age, stories, levels in languages…. and therefore needed special attention and caring as well. Indeed, some of them could read but not speak, speak but not read, sometimes even in their own language. On top of that, due to their situation, they could not attend to class everyday: some would come one day, and then come back two weeks later for example. But step by step, weeks after weeks, I got more and more comfortable and I hope that I have pass on a bit of my knowledge to them.

But the sharing was not a one way sharing. They taught me a lot, certainly more than I did. They taught me a few words in Farsi or Arabic, they shared with me their stories, they also did oral presentations where they could talk about subjects that mattered to them and that they wanted to share. During these presentations, they talked about environment, feminisms, the situation in Afghanistan…. I am very grateful for this.

Moreover, I learnt a lot from the 3 receptionists: Mehran, Sajad and Thomas. They are dedicated to their tasks and would always give a hand when it is necessary. I was also impressed by their kindness and generosity. We also discussed about the situation in their countries (especially during the last days of my trip the Tabilans were to take Kabul) they taught me a lot about the history of this decades-long conflict.  

At first, when I arrived we were only two volunteers: Salomé and I. The 3 receptionists helped us so much. Being alone and not knowing what to do was extremely challenging. But they helped us and so did Idriss, one of the refugees here.  

With Salomé, we have known each other for 3 years now, but I have got to know her in a different way and learnt so much from her. She is so generous and open to others. She showed me how to bond with people.  

During the last weeks, I have also had the chance to meet other volunteers. Some of the previous ones like Thomas, and some new ones like Bente, Lilian, Andrea and Andra. The experience was totally different from what I had experience before. Sharing this experience with other volunteers made the experience completely. I actually enjoyed the few weeks I spent with them and wish I had spent more time with them.  

Finally, this experience reinforced my desire to work as a humanitarian worker. It also showed me that I have still a lot to learn if I want to help people, and especially refugees.  

Lastly, I would say that the only negative point about this experience in the Welcommon Hostel would be the logistic. This place has such a great potential and the idea is great. But, on the other hand, the lack of funds and organisation make it even harder for the volunteers. As far as I am concerned I think we could find a way to organise the continuation between volunteers. It is so challenging to enter a place without knowing what you have to do. For example, creating different poles to explain precisely what is the project: kids, teaching, socialising…  

THANK YOU FOR THIS GREAT JOURNEY !

Salomé

I am Salomé

I spent six weeks in Athens participating in the volunteering project “Green Social Innovation”, an ESC’s project implemented by Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal in the Welcommon Hostel. My everyday life is mainly organised depending on the classes I gave. From Monday to Thursday, I did 3 classes with refugees: one French class for beginners and two English classes (beginner and intermediate).

At the beginning, it was difficult for me to teach because some of my students (refugees from different countries) could neither read nor write. Also, new students joined the class everyday: especially in the beginner English class. But over time it was easier for me to teach, I felt more comfortable. Indeed, I knew my students better and I knew their rhythm. I loved my French class. My students were really thirst for learning. I taught them everyday words, words and verbs that they can use if they manage to go to a French-speaking country.

Moreover, from Monday to Friday at 6:00 pm, I used to go to the park with the kids. When we were only two volunteers, it was quite difficult to go to the park with the children because there were many of them (24 maximum). Fortunately, parents and single men were helping us. When we had time, we organized kid activities: painting, twister, Venetian masks, modelling clay; or even cooking activities with the older ones (Soeid, Amir, Elia, Anoar). We baked pizzas and cakes.

Taking care of children has brought us closer to them, but also to their parents. Indeed, many of them invited us to dinner after the park. Usually, it was kind of an excuse to hang out with us and tell us their stories. We also took part in Ahmad’s 10th birthday and Ahmad’s circumcision. I was able to create real bonds with the children but also with the parents. So, regularly, I would go to the beach or to the theme park with one of the families.

For my departure I received a wave of love from all the refugees.

It was an amazing experience. I learnt many things: new cultures, languages

Idir Q, volunteer: I recommend to everyone to have such an experience

By | Actions | No Comments

Having the desire to understand more the refugee situation in europe and all the issues it involves, I applied for a European Solidarity Corps program with Anemos Ananeosis (Wind of Renewal) in Athens within the Welcommon Hostel.

Greece, by way of its proximity with Turkey, is a passage country for millions of refugees coming from Asia and Africa and crossing the European border looking for a safe place to live. Women, men, children, families who ran away from war, oppression, hard life, find themselves piled up in camps, or sometimes in the urban jungle of Athens. In the middle of this, the Welcommon Hostel is a necessary transition place for refugees who are looking for a place to stay. It is a beautiful lab of multiculturalism and social exchange where meet volunteers, tourists, and refugees. The ecological conscience and the will of making the Welcommon Hostel an eco-responsible place through the work of the volunteers and the residents is also a part of the DNA of the hostel and the reason I decided to commit for 3 months and have this amazing experience.

In the hostel volunteers were able to benefit of a great freedom of action, and create different activities to make the refugees busy, particularly during the lockdown due to the pandemic. For my mission, entitled “Social and Green innovation for young people”, and with the help of the volunteers team, we imagined many workshops, classes and kids activities. When I arrived there were already different classes proposed to the residents who were completely free to attend, such as German and English class, sport class or history class. I then imagined and created a new one called “Society and Environmental class”, a sort of introduction to some social and ecological principles and issues. I organised this lesson as an open discussion with the students about things that “matters” to them. Through lessons about classical subject such as science or geography.

I always tried to keep an environmental approach in order to raise them awareness about ecological issues. For instance, I made a classical geography lesson about all the different climates we can find on the earth surface and turned it into an opening to the climate change questions and the effects of the greenhouse gas on the climate. The students of all ages, eager to learn, were very involved in the classes. I also learned a lot on my ability to teach something and realised that it could be a real vocation.

In addition to the classes, we organised many different workshops that could bring into light the skills owned by the residents and in our turn learn from them, in particular, with the cleaning and reorganisation of the backyard of the hostel. Indeed, knowing that summer and hot temperatures were coming back, we needed an outdoor place within the Welcommon Hostel to organise events, classes or simply to hang out.

The experience in the Welcommon hostel was culturally and socially enriching. The share environment of the volunteers and the residents allowed me to understand more the issues the refugees are faced to. I recommend to everyone who have time and motivation to have such an experience to be more aware of this reality and create or involve the collective conscience.

Eloi D., volunteer: meeting beautiful people with difficult backgrounds building strong and real connexions with them

By | Actions | No Comments

I am Eloi D.

One day, while I was walking in the streets in Athens, I met a group of young people. They explained to me that their group was made of volunteers working with Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal at the Welcommon Hostel. We had the chance to discuss about their activities and work which I felt really interested. They nicely invited me to visit the place so I can discover more. The first time I saw the place, I knew I wanted to volunteer, and help creating intercultural projects.

During these 3 months participating in the European Solidarity Corps project “Green Social Innovation for young persons” implemented by Wind of Renewal, we had time to build things. My daily activities in the hostel were mainly based on kids activities, music classes,  cultural and environmental projects with the residents and support the reception.

I will talk more about the cultural and environemntal project because I think it’s the most important. In collaboration with another volunteer coming from Belgium named Rosalie, we decided to develop some workshops and events for and with the refugees living in the hostel.

The first project was to rehabilitate the backyard of the hostel. This space was full of materials. We asked some residents to help us empty it and clean in order to use it as a common place for outside classes, and different others events.

Afterrwards, we organized some decoration workshops with some of the residents focusing on using only natural products and re-using materials. We painted all the walls with the limestone (organic material usually used on the tradditional greek white houses), and built some planters, tables and other furnitures all made of materials that we found in the first place and of palets that we picked up in the streets of Athens.

The second project was called «Collective exhibition». Still with Rosalie (the other volunteer I worked with), we gathered a group of residents once a week for one month. The idea of these workshops was to make them work all together about the exchange of knowledge and skill. All these people despite the cultural differences and gaps, had three similarities: They all had left their land, their jobs and some close people. Knowing this, we wanted them to open to each other sharing their experiences and skills to someonelse and in the meantime receiving an other person’s knowledge. All this work accomplished during the workshops and the differents creations that have been made (photographs, origami, painting, haircuts, jewelery and cooking), were meant to be exhibitaded to the other residents so they could learn as well.

This experience was great, I could learn lot of things concerning the conditions of refugees in Greece.

Living in this hostel was an opportunity to meet beautiful people with difficult backgrounds building strong and real connexions with them.

 

Allegra B., volunteer: beautiful experience living with people coming from different cultures and environments

By | Actions | No Comments
My name is Allegra,
I am a 21 years old traveler from Italy. When I finished school I decided to take 2 gap years to travel before university. I fell in love with Athens since the first time I came and it was amazing to found such an interesting project here like the one organised by the Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal. I worked as a European Solidarity Corps participant – volunteer for the project “green social innovation for young persons” in the Welcommon Hostel.
When I arrived in the hostel Greece was in lockdown so the only guests in the hostel were refugees. The other volunteers were organizing classes and events in which we were taking part all together. That was the best thing for me as I felt connected to all the people living in the hostel, no matter the language barrier. We were doing games together, cooking, eating, teaching to each other.
It was such a beautiful experience living with people coming from cultures and environments so different from mine (residents and volunteers). Everyday you learn something new about a language you didn’t know, a typical food of the middle est, about politics, about culture and traditions. You learn something about yourself as well.
I became way more conscious about many topics and problems that I didn’t know about before coming here.
I grew up a lot during my staying here, and living in my favourite neighborhood of Athens and getting to know such amazing people is an experience I will never forget.

Ben W., volunteer: It was a beautiful experience to be a teacher and I learned a lot

By | Actions | No Comments

Hello, I am Ben W.

I participated as a volunteer with „Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal” in the WELCOMMON Hostel with the support of the „European Solidarity Corps“, for 8 months, from the 20. of October 2020 until the 20. of June 2021. My main tasks were teaching and organising several different workshops and events. 

I was a teacher for German, English, History and Sport. My students were refugees from inside and outside the hostel. In German and English I taught beginners as well as intermediate level students. The language classes were the main part of the classes because speaking a European language is very important for a lot of the refugees.

In the beginning I taught in cooperation of some experienced volunteers, to learn how to prepare and teach a language. After one week, I got my own German and English class. For the preparation I used either some of the lesson plans the previous volunteers shared with us or I used one of the language books in the hostel.

After a time and some experience I created also a folder with a planning for all my lessons, including games, activities and lesson plans. That helped me a lot to organise myself and to create classes that have a following cycle.

In the beginning all the volunteers participated also in further education about pedagogy from a trained teacher. This training helped me a lot to create general structure for the classes independently of the content of the class. To get the students to learn something it was also important to create diversified classes. To reach this aim I integrated also small games and activities in my classes or I let them write small tests to motivate them to learn. In the last 5 minutes of the class I did every time quick feedback rounds how I could improve my teaching skills or the content of the classes. That was important for me because I am not a trained teacher and this helped the students also to express their interests and what they want to learn. So I was every time in close exchange with the students.

My other class was a history class for some of the residents. I created this class because they came to me and asked for this because they wanted to learn something about the history of the countries they will probably live in. Because of this, the content of the class was the history of Europe from the 1789 until now. The topics were the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the First World War, the Second World War and the Cold War. I tried also to combine the history class with some actual, political topics. For example, when we talked about the French Revolution I did also a class about democracy and how it works nowadays.

My third class was a sport class. I created this class because I think that sport can connect people without language from all over the world. It was also a good balance to all the other classes, especially during the Lockdown when the people didn´t move a lot. I tried to create a sport program where every group of age could fit in and where you have fun on the one hand but also have progress on the other hand.

I participated also in an Arabic class for some weeks, where a resident taught the volunteers some basics of Arabic. That was useful for the communication with the other residents but mainly it created an exchange of knowledge. We taught the residents knowledge we have and they taught us knowledge they have. It created also a more relaxing atmosphere between the residents and us volunteers.

Μπορεί να είναι εικόνα 5 άτομα, άτομα που κάθονται, άτομα που στέκονται και πανωφόρια

For my personal experience I can say, that I learned a lot during my time as a teacher about how to lead a group, how to solve conflicts, how to take care of different personalities and ways of learning in a group, how to organise something completely by myself and how to teach in a proper way. I learned, also, a lot from the students about their lives, their interests and I got very close with some of the students. Finally, I can say that it was a beautiful experience to be a teacher, I had a lot of fun and I take a big amount of new experiences out of this.

I supported also sometimes the receptionists of the hostel in their shifts. I took care of the needs and problems of the residents and learned also a lot of technical stuff about the hostel, like the electricity and water system and about the booking. Through working as a volunteer at the reception, I became also part of the organisation and administration of the hostel and I got a different point of view inside the hostel. I got also a better understanding for the processes in the hostel and I had more tools and knowledge for the organisation of the activities.

Through the 8 months, I organised several different activities and workshops in cooperation with the other volunteers.

In November 2020, I started together with 3 other volunteers to organise a crowdfunding campaign for the hostel. We wrote an article for main page, shot a short movie and uploaded some pictures to give the donators some information about our projects. We also created several sup campaigns in our native languages to get a bigger range of influence. We also started a professional movie project to have a high quality movie about the hostel. We worked several months on this but we had so stop because of technical problems.

Μπορεί να είναι εικόνα παιδί, πανωφόρια, δέντρο και κείμενο που λέει "DAYS WELCOMMON"

Δεν υπάρχει διαθέσιμη περιγραφή για τη φωτογραφία.For Christmas 2020 we organised also a small celebration for the kids. We decorated the whole ground floor, bought a Christmas tree and a personal gift for every child in the hostel. Through this, the residents could learn a little bit about the European culture and celebrations.

For the New Year’s Eve we organised a small party in the hostel. We motivated the residents to cook a regional meal from their home countries and to share it with all the other residents and volunteers.

Through this, we created a cultural exchange of food and we learned a lot about the different ways of cooking and eating all around the world.

Since February of 2021 we cleaned and organised the backyard of the hostel to create there a new space of relaxation and other activities. First we had to organise and move all the things which were in the backyard before and to clean the whole area. We built also some tables for the backyard out of wood and some metal structures which were there before. We painted all the walls with limestone and created also a small garden area with some plants and herbs. For this we recycled old pallets and wood we found in the backyard. In the middle of June we made a dedication celebration in the backyard with games and activities for the children and we ordered pizza for all the residents.

I also organised several cultural trips to the Acropolis or the Acropolis museum to show the residents a little bit of the Greek history and culture.

We organised also a cultural exhibition where we created first a workshop. In this workshop the residents could teach their different skills and knowledge they know from their previous education or from their home countries. In the end, we had workshops of sewing, jewellery, hair styling, origami and photography. In a final exhibition we presented the whole hostel all the work and celebrated together.

In summary, I learned a lot here during my work as a volunteer. I grew up a lot and got a completely new point of view. I learned a lot about the situation of refugees in Greece and about their stories.

Supporting Employability Through Social Entrepreneurship in Cyprus

By | Actions | No Comments

“Social entrepreneurship has remarkable potential to tackle the economic and unemployment crisis by combining profitability with sustainable growth and inclusion to deliver significant positive social and environmental impact for the common good. However, although social economy is gaining popularity in Cyprus, there is a lack of a support system and financial incentives that promote the development of social enterprises.“ Kyriaki Demetriou

The president of Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal  participated in the Networking Workshop ‘Development of Social Economy in Cyprus’ that took place within the framework of the project ‘Go Social: Supporting Employability through Social Entrepreneurship’  and presented the experience and activities of our social cooperative enterprise.

Suggested measures to support the Development of Social Economy and Employability in Cyprus

Μπορεί να είναι εικόνα 1 άτομο και χαμογελάειBy Kyriaki Demetriou
AKTI Project and Research Centre

-Member of GoSocial

 

The Networking Workshop ‘Development of Social Economy in Cyprus’ that took place within the framework of the European-Union funded project “Go Social: Supporting Employability through Social Entrepreneurship” brought together key stakeholders of social and environmental economy from Cyprus and abroad to increase mobilization and engagement of policy makers towards the development of the sector in Cyprus. The workshop highlighted the potential of social entrepreneurship in new and established economic activities as well as the social, environmental and economic benefits for Cyprus, especially within the context of improving employability and supporting the work integration of
vulnerable groups.

The following key proposals/suggestions were proposed for creating a supporting framework for the development of social economy in Cyprus deriving from the presentations of the keynote speakers and workshop discussion:
✔ Organise national awareness campaigns to recognize and highlight the importance and benefits of social economy as a crucial driver in shaping a sustainable, inclusive, healthy, and green future
✔ Create a positive social entrepreneurship culture among the future generations by promoting social and environmental entrepreneurship at all levels of school-education
✔ Provide attractive incentives for companies, like tax exemptions, to promote the development of the social economy
✔ Provide easily accessible grants and subsidies from public authorities and EU funds to new social and environmental businesses and existing businesses that would like to transit to social economy,
✔ Create seed funding opportunities for innovative, solution-oriented ideas to support their start-up and growth
✔ Include simplified tender procedures and reporting requirements for social businesses within the new law on social entrepreneurship
✔ Educate the young generation of entrepreneurs on new business models deriving from the Circular and Green Economy principles
✔ Create a recognizable certification/label for social businesses to increase awareness and visibility of social economy products and services among consumers
✔ Promote social and solidarity economy by providing training to migrants and refugees on green jobs to enable their work integration

✔ Train unemployed and socially vulnerable youth in educational/academic subjects and professions that are important for social and ecological sustainability and green-circular economy
✔ Organise training programmes on current social and environmental needs and challenges within the Cyprus context
✔ Provide practical guidance on how social entrepreneurs can provide solutions to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and in charting the way towards recovery.
✔ Promote partnership and collaboration within organisations, institutions, private and public sectors within Cyprus for the development of social enterprises

Although in its early stages, a new social economy is emerging in Cyprus. Better collaboration and commitment are needed among public authorities, the social and economic actors. Coordinated actions for the development of support mechanisms, financial incentives, resource mobilisation, awareness raising, education and training in social entrepreneurship, are essential elements for the development of the sector. Enabling environment for social enterprises is supporting economic growth and benefiting society and the environment for the whole island.

More about the project: www.gosocialcy.eu

The project ‘Go Social: Supporting Employability through Social Entrepreneurship’, is co-financed by the European Union, with partners: Famagusta Walled City Association (MASDER), AKTI Project and Research Centre and Famagusta Women Centre Association (MAKAMER).

Τα περιεχόμενα του άρθρου αποτελούν αποκλειστική ευθύνη των εταίρων του έργου και σε καμία περίπτωση δεν μπορεί να θεωρηθεί ότι αντικατοπτρίζουν τις απόψεις τις Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης.

A day at the Acropolis Museum together with refugees

By | Actions | No Comments

A day at the museum 

by Chiara-Lou Parriaud

On the 18th of June 2021, residents of the Welcommon Hostel and volunteers went to visit the Acropolis Museum, the exceptional sanctuary of Greek ancient artefacts found on the grounds of the Acropolis. Children and adults alike were eager to discover and understand the Ancient Greek history that has shaped the face of their city of residence. 

After a long walk under the blazing hellenic sun from Kapodistriou street to Dionysiou Areopagitou street, the group finally reached its destination. We were instantly drawn to the large glass panes of the museum that reflected the white columns of the Acropolis, the modern structure contrasting heavily with the Antique wonders the building contained. The children ran around and played outside the facility, marvelling at the ruins of an ancient Athenian neighborhood that were underneath the glass floor on which they stood. 

The “Welcommon team” at the Acropolis Museum – Children and volunteers absorbed in the contemplation of the Athenian ruins. 

In the museum, each individual gazed at the archeological wonders of its liking. While some observed the ancient sculptures, others wondered at the ancient greek inscriptions on the marble steles. Children were fascinated by several models of the Acropolis over the years built for the purpose of the exhibition, the ancient citadel changing its outlook a myriad of times from the 5th century BC to today, going from a residence for kings, to a mythical place for the celebration of gods to a tourist attraction. Imagining a distant Athens populated by a different society with customs at odds with our contemporary times seemed to highly intrigue them. The mothers of the families took an incalculable amount of pictures of the superb view of the Acropolis, of the museum and of their children, all of which will serve as beautiful memories of this particular day. 

After two hours of strolling through rows of magnificent remnants of Antiquity, our group emerged from the museum with sparkles in our eyes, full of new knowledge on the wonders of the previous Greek centuries. No matter the age or the nationality, each individual thoroughly enjoyed this cultural outing, which is a testimony to the social and cultural atmosphere of the Welcommon Hostel, as residents and volunteers alike learned, connected and got inspired together, as a community. 

Here is what some of the residents had to say about their day at the museum. 

I really enjoyed going to the museum. It’s a good place for me to learn and I got to learn from the past.”

I was fascinated by the Greek mythological scenes that were depicted onto the marbled statues. Everyone should try to get familiar with these very interesting aspects of history. I was also intrigued by the story behind the construction of the monumental Parthenon, and the backstory behind the stones used to build the temple as well as the statues. I learned a lot, and I would love to go again.”’

I had already been to the museum, but it was very nice to go with everyone from the Hostel – it’s always nicer to go with friends and as a community.” 

Anemos Anenosis, the social cooperative and all the Welcommon Team would especially like to thank the Acropolis Museum’s president and staff members for their cooperation in the organisation of this special day. 

Lisa W., one of our volunteers: “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever made”

By | Actions | No Comments

Hello, I am Lisa

I was volunteering with Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal at the Welcommon Hostel in Athens, from the beginning of January to the end of June 2021.

It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever made. I think I will never forget the time in the hostel. I learned so much and my experience changed me in a very positive way. I learned a lot and my point of view changed in so many things! I met so many interesting people from different countries, different cultures and they all had different stories. We lived together, cooked together, laughed together and it felt like living in a big family. I think in this time I lost any kind of prejudice I’ve ever had before!

My two main Jobs where giving English and German lessons.

In the beginning it was pretty hard for me to stand in front of a group of people and to teach them a new language and I realized that it takes a lot of confidence. But after a while I got used to this new „teacher“ position and I started having fun giving lessons.

In the German lessons we did a lot of grammar work and it was a really new experience for me to teach my own mother language. I never realized before how tricky the German language can be and I think even me I learned a lot of new things about my language while teaching it.

A good thing was that all my German students where able to speak English so we had a good way to communicate with each other.

The situation in the english lesson was totally different because most of the time I didn’t had a language in common with my students. But I used a lot of pictures and body language and so we managed the communication most of the time pretty well. The main topics in my English lessons where vocabularies and dialogues. I tried to teach them the most important communication skills like for example asking for the bus station or calling a doctor.

Another activity I was doing was the „women’s sport class“. When I arrived at the hostel there was already a normal sports class, but I realized, that I never saw any women participating in this class. So I decided to start a sport class JUST for women and girls. I think that many women where very happy about this offer, because of cultural reasons most of them didn’t feel comfortable to do sport in front of men. In our sport class we did a lot of fitness, yoga and also dancing and we had a lot of fun together. I think that doing sport and being active is something really important if you are in a difficult live situation and I had the feeling that doing sport was very helpful for a lot of the women in the hostel. 

In the afternoon when the classes were finished, we used to some activity with the kids of hostel.

In winter we did a lot of different group games inside and when the weather became better we used to go with the kids to a playground in the neighborhood. I had a lot of fun playing with the kids and it was a really good experience having responsibility for a group of children.

Also part of the work in the hostel was to support our receptionists. Usually I worked volunteering three times six hours per week at the reception of our hostel. The work at the reception included the cleaning of the entrance room and the bar, giving hygiene articles to our residents and being responsible for our laundry room. This part of the work was a bit different to the other activities but I also enjoined because working at the reception means to have a lot of interactions with the residents (almost all of them refugees at the moment) and it also shows you what it means to work in a hostel or hotel.

Aside of all these things our volunteer group organized a couple of group activities that should bring all the residents of the hostel together. We did for example a cooking evening where we ate together and everybody was cooking his/her traditional food. Or a summer party where we danced together and learned different cultural dances. We also went to the beach with some residents and made cinema evenings in our backyard. It was a really feeling to see everybody coming together and having fun, no matter where they come from, what they believed in or which language they were speaking.

I think I will never forget the time in the hostel. I learned so much and my experience changed me in a very positive way.

Lisa Wittich

Ines: Volunteering in the Welcommon Hostel with Wind of Renewal for Social and Green Innovation

By | Actions | No Comments

Volunteering in the Welcommon Hostel with Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal for Social and Green Innovation
– Volunteer from October 2020 to March 2021

My name is Inès Doumandji. I am a 22years old French girl, and I studied Psychology. After the end of my bachelor, I decided to take a year off studies to focus on what I really want to do after my Master: working with refugees.

Since I cannot work as a psychologist for refugees yet, I still decided to start this crazy adventure in the social environment by volunteering in Greece with refugees. I found Anemos Ananeosis and the Welcommon Hostel on the website Workaway and I thought that it was the perfect opportunity for me to participate in a European Solidarity Corps project: I get to live for free in the hostel with the migrants in exchange of sharing what I can with them and learning so much from them participating in the European Solidarity Corps “Green Social Innovation for young persons” implemented by Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal.

I started volunteering in the project in the very beginning of October 2020 and I stopped in March 2021. Those 6 months felt like 2. I did not plan on staying that long there, but I got caught by the beauty of the place. Anemos Ananeosis and the Welcommon Hostel have beautiful projects about social and environmental impact that follow my principles and made me feel like I have my place here.

At the beginning I started exclusively teaching German and English to refugees not living in the hostel, and just visiting for the classes. But when Covid-19 hit harder, the restrictions became stricter and we could not welcome people from outside of the hostel anymore, so we decided to teach to the residents.

After a while, different activities were added to the German and English classes. Because of lockdown, the need that we, as volunteers had, and that the residents (almost all refugees) had to take part of more different activities inside of the hostel grew. That is when we created the sport classes, and the various activities like IT class, activities with children (games in English mostly), and games with adults! Our schedule became quite busy but also more diverse and it was very interesting.

After a while, we also decided to take part of the work that needs to be done at the reception as all the residents were more or less homeless refugees. We were all together doing different things for the empowerment of the hosted families and their social inclusion based on a very innovative methods!

The volunteers participating in A2 activities, organized a lot of different projects, a week about environment where we talked about recycling, consuming reasonably, taking care of our planet.

A beauty activity that women could join, where Syrian, Kurdish, Cameroons, Afghan, French, German, Italian and Belgian women joined together to have some self-care time which was also a lot of fun.

We also created some games in the hostel with pictures, where two teams were fighting to find where the pictures were taken in the hostel… that was all a lot of fun.

But this is not all. The things that I will mostly remember about these 6 months is the love that children gave me, all the drawings that I will bring back to France in my suitcase, the weird ways of communicating that we end up developing to be able to understand each other, the delicious meals from all around the world that people cooked and invited me to try, all the laughter, all the time google translation saved or failed us etc…

I would recommend this experience to anyone, I arrived this hostel way younger in my mind than I will leave it, that is for sure !

Welcommon Hostel, one of the best sivil society initiatives of the Euro-Med Region

By | Χωρίς κατηγορία | No Comments

“Long Night of Ideas”
O Άνεμος Ανανέωσης και το Welcommonhostel μεταξύ των 6 καλύτερων Ευρω-Μεσογειακών πρωτοβουλιών της κοινωνίας των πολιτών (best of) που θα παρουσιαστούν από τους Euromed Citizen Reporters, ζωντανά σε μια διαδικτυακή εκδήλωση από τη Γερμανία στο πλαίσιο της “Long Night of Ideas”, την Δευτέρα 7 Ιουνίου, στις 21.00 (CEST) (22.00 στην Αθήνα)
Συνδεθείτε εδώ: https://mediapool.expo-ip.com/stand/36
Θα παρουσιαστούν
– Welcommon Hostel και Άνεμος Ανανέωσης (Ελλάδα)
– Banlastic Egypt (Αίγυπτος)
– Sustainable Cooperation for Peace & Security (Ιταλία)
– Youth Dialogue Platform (Λιβύη)
– KITABI (Μαρόκο)
– SΕPT (Λίβανος)
Οι Euromed Citizen Reporters (We are still here! EuroMed Citizen Reporters” είναι ένα πρόγραμμα του Γερμανικού Δικτύου Anna Lindh Foundation (για τον διάλογο των πολιτισμών Ευρώπη-Μεσόγειο) Anna Lindh Stiftung και του ιδρύματος Candid Foundation gGmbH που υποστηρίχθηκε από το Γερμανικό Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών Auswärtiges Amt
– Το Welcommonhostel (Αθήνα) είναι ένα καινοτόμο #hostel βιώσιμου τουρισμού αλλά και κέντρο για την προώθηση της κοινωνικής και πράσινης καινοτομίας, της κοινωνικής ενδυνάμωσης και ένταξης, της δράσης για το κλίμα και της ενεργειακής μετάβασης, που δημιουργήθηκε από τον Άνεμο Ανανέωσης
– Η δράση Banlastic Egypt είναι μια πρωτοβουλία στην Αλεξάνδρεια Αιγύπτου για την απαγόρευση των πλαστικών μιας χρήσης στη χώρα, προσφέροντας εναλλακτικές λύσεις πράσινων προϊόντων και ευαισθητοποιώντας ευρύτερα με εργαστήρια και καθαρισμούς ακτών
– Η Sustainable Cooperation for Peace & Security @SustainableCoo (Ιταλία) είναι μια πρωτοβουλία για την προώθηση της βιωσιμότητας, της ειρήνης και της ασφάλειας, με έμφαση στις γυναίκες και τη νεολαία
– Η Youth Dialogue Platform @YDPLibya (Λιβύη) είναι μια πρωτοβουλία που προωθεί την ενδυνάμωση των νέων μέσω του διαλόγου μεταξύ των Λίβυων και πέρα από αυτούς
– Η KITABI (Μαρόκο) είναι μια βιβλιοθήκη για παιδιά
– Η SEPT (Save Energy Plant Trees) όπως λέει ο τίτλος της “εξοικονομήστε ενέργεια, φυτέψτε δέντρα) (Λίβανος – Βηρυττός)
————————————————————————-
“Long Night of Ideas” #civilsociety is contributing a lot to overcome challenges of our times its Best Of will be livestreamed on June 7th!
The premiere of #EuroMed Citizen Visions” during the #lndi21 by Auswärtiges Amt
with
– Sustainable Cooperation for Peace & Security @SustainableCoo
– KITABI
– @YDPLibya
– SEPT
Monday 7th of June, on 21.00 Central European Summer Time (CEST) (22.00, Athens time 22.00)
Welcommonhostel is an innovative hostel for sustainable tourism open to all the travellers, as well as a centre for social and green innovation, social empowerment and inclusion, art, intercultural dialogue, climate action and energy transition
Banlastic Egypt aims to ban single use plastic in Egypt by offering alternative green products and by spreading awareness through workshops and beach cleanups
– Sustainable Cooperation for Peace & Security @SustainableCoο Sustainable Development Goals through UNSCR 1325 “Women Peace and Security” and 2250 “Youth Peace and Security”. From Italy to the Earth globe
– Youth Dialogue Platform @YDPLibya is an initiative that promotes Youth empowerment through dialogue among Libyans and beyond (online and offline) #UNSCR2250
– KITABI (Morocco) is a children’s library
– SEPT (Save Energy Plant Trees) (Lebanon- Beirut). Neighborhood help in Lebanon www.sept-ngo.org
June 7th, 9 p.m. CEST –
————————————————————————-
“Lange Nacht der Ideen” #twitterchallenge Mit unserer Idee wird die Kreativität und Innovationskraft von interkultureller Zivilgesellschaft sichtbar. Am 7. Juni um 21 Uhr in der 20min
Welcommonhostel Banlastic Egypt @SustainableCoo KIBATE SEPT @YDPLibya
Show “EuroMed Citizen Visions” unter https://mediapool.expo-ip.com/stand/36
Diese „Best-of-Show“ zivilgesellschaftlicher Initiativen der euro-mediterranen Region zeigt, wie neue kreative Formen des interkulturellen Dialogs, der aktiven Bürgerschaft und der gesellschaftlichen Partizipation an der Basis und lokal initiiert und gestaltet werden – trotz teilweise geschlossener physischer Grenzen und eingeschränkter Bewegungs- und Begegnungsmöglichkeiten vor Ort.
Die „Citizen Reporters“ aus Libyen, Ägypten, Italien, Griechenland und dem Libanon kommen selbst zu Wort und präsentieren lokale Aktivitäten und Initiativen, die Hoffnung, Solidarität und Visionen von einer aktiven, vielfältigen und agilen internationalen Zivilgesellschaft vermitteln.
Das Format setzt das Projekt „We are still here! EuroMed Citizen Reporters“ fort und findet in Kooperation mit der Anna Lindh Foundation statt.
Die 20-minütige Show wird am 7. Juni um 21:00 Uhr live gestreamt.
Die Premiere während der „Langen Nacht der Ideen 2021“ ist zugleich der Startschuss für die Publikation einer Vielzahl von zivilgesellschaftlichen Initiativen auf der Website.
#lndi21 @zak_kiτ @EuroMedCR