Refugees in Greece Empowered by Local Know-HowIn Greek mainland sites, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) organizes non-formal educational activities to introduce refugees to local culture and strengthen their social skills towards an inclusive and safe environment.
“I was afraid of going to the city by myself, I was worried I would get lost or confused,” says 18-year-old Mohamad from Syria. The young man is one of the residents of Koutsochero refugee hosting site, central Greece, who spent a day exploring Larissa city with his classmates.
Accompanied by DRC education staff, the students set off to visit Greek public services such as theCitizen Services Centre, the Municipality of Larissa, the Post Office, central Banks and the local transport provider.
"I did not sleep all night waiting for this trip," says 24-year-old Arqum from Pakistan.
“Even better than expected”
In each stop, students asked questions and got information on different issues and procedures. For the young men, this was an opportunity to strengthen their relationships and practice the communication and social skills needed in their interactions with the locals.
DRC education staff also included a crash course in Greek culture, with visits to the Ancient Theatre, the local fortress, and the Monument of Heroes.
For 23-year-old Amir from Yemen what mattered the most was having a different kind of experience: “Although I have visited the city many times, I never had the opportunity to see the monuments."
“The day was even better than I expected. I am thankful,” adds 24-year-old Arqum.
Picnic and dancing in the park
The last stop was Alkazar Park were everybody had a picnic. Some of the students felt joyous and started dancing the traditional dance dapke, an Arab folk dance which combines circle and line dancing, inviting everyone to join.
“It was a day to remember,” says 32-year-old Karrar from Iraq.
This was just one of the non-formal education activities organized by DRC Greece, aiming to empower refugees and introduce them to local culture. The activities are carried out with the support of the European Commission's department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).