Greece: an opportunity to listen and learn
Our objective is to listen and learn. This is what brings Sara-Christine and me to Greece for the next week. We are here to listen and learn about what it is like to be a refugee in Ioannina and Thessaloniki; to listen about the everyday challenges the community faces, and what ideas they have to turn these obstacles into opportunities. We hope to learn about gaps in early childhood education, refugee-led, and human rights programs. We want to learn whether trauma-informed approaches and child well-being tools might be helpful, and if so, in what ways. We are here to listen and learn.
This is the first step in understanding whether expanding Little Ripples, Refugees United Soccer Academy or even LEAD with EMPATHY could be impactful for the diverse community of refugees living across Greece. They come from countries such as Syria, Libya, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, and beyond. They are families and unaccompanied youth. They live in urban apartment buildings and in refugee camp settings. They are all individuals with a story, not just of their displacement, but stories of their cultures and traditions. They all have something to share and something they can contribute.
We are excited to visit with potential partners who believe in placing refugees at the heart of the solution and start by asking the people themselves what they need and want; partners who then facilitate programs that meet those needs. In Ioannina, the organization Second Tree will introduce us to their refugee friends and partners. In Thessaloniki, we are very excited to work with Refugee Trauma Initiative and the community they work alongside. We will explore our shared commitment to empowerment, healing, and refugee-led models. In the short time we will be here, we hope to learn about the perspectives and discover the unique assets each community holds.
Join our team of volunteers (we don’t have superpowers, but sometimes with all that we accomplish, it feels that way!) so we can reflect together on whether expanding our programs to Greece could strengthen the agency, voice, and power that refugees have over their future.
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