TTBW - Experiences from volunteers
TimeToBeWelcome is a project which YEU is partner organization, the aim of the project is to help refugees located in Athens, Greece or Paris, France to integrate into the local community, increase intercultural relations between migrants/refuges and the local communities not only in Athens or Paris, but also transitioning into the rest of Europe. Until now YEU has sent 4 volunteers to offer their service in Athens, Greece and Paris, France. All 4 of the volunteers are working and are going to work directly with the beneficiaries of the project migrants/refugees. Though different non-formal methodologies our volunteers are helping the young migrants/refugees to integrate into local community and at the same time helps local community understand and accept the cultural differences.
- Volunteers based in Athens, Greece:
Emilia Bonadeo, 20 years old from Italy, describes her experience for the past 3 months in Athens, Greece forking with young migrants/refugees, “Since the moment that I arrived in Athens, I was overly excited to finally get the chance to work with these young and incredible young persons. My first 2 weeks I spend shadowing in the shelters with other volunteers getting to know the guys that we staying in the shelters and building the trust between us. After those to weeks I started working by myself and implementing my own ideas in the shelters. The activities in the beginning were mainly English, German language classes, every Tuesday in Victoria sq, Athens we started the implementation of mobile school, in order to get in touch also with other migrant/refugees that were not staying in shelters. And now it has been 3 months since I’m in Athens, I have become member of their families, a college of the people that are working in shelters.
Another volunteer Murat Mislimi, 24 years old from FYRO Macedonia, has been in Athens for 2 months and when we asked about his experience so far he said, “I was so excited from the moment that I applied to the project, because I always wanted to work with migrants/refugees but I had other obligation and never had chance until now. As soon as I arrived after only couple of days later I was introduced to the shelters by my fellow volunteers, a week later I started to implement activities in the shelters and help in already implemented and realized activities. One of my favorite is happening every Wednesday, where we go to one of the local fresh food markets and trolleys asking for food that can be donated to the shelters. The market is usually full of local farmers, and it is such a beautiful feeling to see how they engage and try to help with their offered food. Bags of oranges, apples, tomatoes, greens everything grown by their own hands and offered to someone that they don’t even know, but being empathetic about the loss of the others, and to experience this, is one of the best moments in my life.”
And last but not least Daniela Sofia Correa, 24 years old from Portugal, she is one of the volunteers that arrived to Athens recently and her experience is fresh as she describes it, “it has been 3 weeks since I arrived, and even these first weeks have been full of interesting and fulfilling events. My first week I attended my arrival training with other new volunteers, where we’ve been introduced into the topic of migrants/refugees in Greece deeply and more detailed. After the arrival training our hosting organization
organized meetings with each shelter that are part of the project and are in need of the help of the volunteers. Hearing different stories by the people that run shelters encouraged me to start brainstorm about my ideas and what I want to do and how I can help in this shelters. I have been shadowing couple of activities in these shelters and the enthusiasm and the joy of the boys staying in the shelter has filled me with wonderful feelings, and im looking forward to the future days and activities.
- Volunteer based in Paris, France:
Foued Fguira, 23 years old from Italy from Italy, said "my experience started on September 2017, with SINGA France and EEUDF. Paris it’s a big city and our time to develope the personal projects it’s longer rather the time of the colleagues in Greece. Based on that, we worked mainly to create a nice network between us and the different associations. When it comes to me in this process i had the possibility:
-to work with some refugees at the maintenance works inside a shelter ( cleaning, painting etc);
-to participate at some intercultural evenings;
-to be involved in a part of the organisation of a ‘disco soup’ - monthly event where some volunteer organise a big soup together and some good music with the food collected from the supermarkets that do not want it anymore;
-having also the possibility to be introduced to a national scouting team and now be part of it.
Some of the activities that i took part and tried are not new for me, but all the feelings and the different little stories and smiles make it feel like it was something totally new. My personal project will be a sequence of intercultural evenings, a version for youngs and a version more for adults volunteers and refugees, i'm organising a calendar and some partnership where i will organise the activity in collaboration and share our tools and resources. I would like to create evenings with a space to learn about culture, foods,curiosity and experiences of all us, and spread “le bonne humeur” ( the good mood). I hope to reach as many of my personal and project's goals as possible in the 7 months of volunteering left. I live in a nice city, full of art and things to do, specially out of the “work time”, where i had the possibility to meet others volunteers and refugees and to fill part of that big city and to add something in my routine. I feel that we are creating a good network and I had the possibility to meet the colleagues in Greece and to keep in contact with them."
TIME TO BE WELCOME deserves to be something bigger and bigger.
Giulia Annibaleti (YEU AO)
Emilia Banadea, Murat Mislimi, Daniela Sophia Carreiaa & Foued Fguira
YEU volunteers in TTBW project