With the ERASMUS+ group
Of the 2nd Junior High School of Kesariani
On Sunday, 20th March 2018, students from housing centres for refugees along with students from inter-cultural primary and secondary schools of Athens and their parents, teachers and Greek state representatives took part in a celebration which was organised at the Housing Centre for Refugees, at Eleónas. The main slogan of it was: “We join in celebration at Eleónas”.
Our students had the opportunity to visit the centre and participate in games, art projects, plays and creative workshops for children and adults. The celebration went on with singing, dancing and theatrical performances, which were about the principles of accepting human differences, respecting human rights and children’s rights, solidarity, peace and cooperation between people.
This celebration offered moments of emotion, joy and reflection, as well as food and music. In the end, there was the feeling that peaceful co-existence and prevalence of human ideals can be achieved through co-operation and activation of all of us.
The event was organised by the Greek Ministries of Education, Research and Religion, and Immigration Policy, as well as the Municipality of Athens. It was also supported by UNICEF and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
On May 4th, 2018, the Erasmus + team of our school, participated in the educational and social action of welcoming refugee children and attended the program “The Greek Institute of Pasteur pasteurizes the microbe of xenophobia.” The program was held at the Institute’s amphitheater and was attended by 20 students from the Eleonas Refugee Reception Center.
After our welcome and a brief acquaintance with the Pasteur Institute by President Stylianopoulou, a presentation was made in English by the scientific staff on the subject: “Discussing about microbes, our roommates”. At the same time, the presentation was translated in Farsi for the refugees. Students then followed a demonstration of microbial preparations as well as live cultures through special photomicroscopes. After that, the students were guided to a photo exhibition entitled “Artistic Concerns in the Lab” and had a light meal at the Amphitheater’s Foyer.
At the end of the program, our students had the opportunity to chat with the children from Eleonas at the Institution’s gardens, play with them, and overcome their fears and prejudices. Before leaving, we renewed our appointment with the refugees on May 20th, when our team will visit Eleonas to participate in a festive event.
The refugee crisis is an imminent problem not only for one country but the whole world. All the countries involved in this project are on the direct path the war-torn refugees follow or want to reach and dwell in today. Each are facing overwhelming problems that must be dealt with at all levels of society. Only together can we find a humane solution.
In this project we want our students to reach out their hands to the refugees in their communities and voluteer their help. We want them to not only gain a better understanding of the background and political consequences of the crisis, but also the personal stories and fate of the refugees. With this knowledge – recorded in the results of our project,- our students will inform our schools and community´s about the refugee dilemma with the objective of furthering tolerance and understanding and combating ignorance, racism and populism. International cooperation is vital in order for the students to have a better understanding of the unique and complex problems facing each country and to find humane, feasible solutions.
Many of our students are ignorant to the enormous hardships refugees have faced and are still facing. In this project the students will have the opportunity to confront real people with real stories and together, through mutual dialogue and shared experiences, try to find solutions to their problems. By organizing an international awareness movement and volunteering their time and energy for a good cause our students will learn self-sacrifice, help create a more modern and humane Europe where “refugees” are our brothers and be encouraged to continue being active members of the European Community.
The world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home by conflict and persecution at the end of 2016. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also 10 million stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
This project will give our youth the opportunity to imagine and build a world in peace where everyone in a community feels unique and precious no matter where they come from, their religious beliefs or the colour of their skin. In a peaceful, functioning society the people who live there and their well-being is more important than money and power. Conquering the hearts and minds is more important than destroying lives and cities. In this project our students will learn and teach to give the message ”You are precious” when they meet with refugees and re-live their sorrows.
Reaching out a helping hand to those who need help make people , who reach out their hand and those whom hold it, happy; and a happy individual makes the society happy. This may sound simplistic, but as Albert Schweitzer said: “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” Using these words as their motto our students will initiate an interactive empathy movement towards refugees and immigrants at their schools and in their communites by reaching out and lending a helping hand with the insight that one refugee without hope is one too many. The problem is not the color of someone´s skin or the language they speak .The problem is leaving refugees alone to cope with their overwhelming problems. Diversity is Europe’s strength.
Based on the understanding that is described within the words of John Steinbeck: “You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself” , this project involves two key components : empathy and sympathy. Using the `Horizontal Priorities´as a guideline
we believe that the project ”Reach Out and lend a helping hand – Humanity Has No Borders” will contribute to building a peaceful, united and prosperous Europe. With the help of incentive mobilities, educational exchanges ,multilingualism and entrepreneurship our project will instill and promote among the participants a sense of belonging and social responsibility, a feeling of being personally involved in EU values and a shared cultural awareness.
The transversal skills such as learning , literacy , life skills , interacting competences with students and teachers will also be enhanced throughout the project and its activities. These competences are: critical thinking, communicating,collaborating,flexibility of thought, open-minded attitude, increased social initiative and personal development (leadership). These transversal competences developed during the project activities will most certainly encourage active citizenship among teenagers.
By sponsoring this project and giving our students the unique opportunity to get involved and voice their concerns about an imminent problem facing Europe, the European Community will be pointing out its strenghts and significance. Our students are the ambassadors of tomorrow. They are the ones who can change society and destroy misconceptions and prejudice.
A person forced to flee their country because of violence or persecution.
Who is a refugee?
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.
Two-thirds of all refugees worldwide come from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.
53% of refugees are school-aged children under the age of 18
Who is an internally displaced person?
An internally displaced person, or IDP, is someone who has been forced to flee their home but never cross an international border. These individuals seek safety anywhere they can find it—in nearby towns, schools, settlements, internal camps, even forests and fields. IDPs, which include people displaced by internal strife and natural disasters, are the largest group that UNHCR assists. Unlike refugees, IDPs are not protected by international law or eligible to receive many types of aid because they are legally under the protection of their own government.
Countries with some the largest internally displaced populations are Colombia, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.
40m People are internally displaced around the world
Who is a stateless person?
A stateless person is someone who is not a citizen of any country. Citizenship is the legal bond between a government and an individual, and allows for certain political, economic, social and other rights of the individual, as well as the responsibilities of both government and citizen. A person can become stateless due to a variety of reasons, including sovereign, legal, technical or administrative decisions or oversights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights underlines that “Everyone has the right to a nationality.”
10m People around the world are stateless or at risk of statelessness
Who is an asylum seeker?
When people flee their own country and seek sanctuary in another country, they apply for asylum – the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance. An asylum seeker must demonstrate that his or her fear of persecution in his or her home country is well-founded.
1.7m new asylum claims in 2017
What is the 1951 Refugee Convention?
The 1951 Geneva Convention is the main international instrument of refugee law. The Convention clearly spells out who a refugee is and the kind of legal protection, other assistance and social rights he or she should receive from the countries who have signed the document. The Convention also defines a refugee’s obligations to host governments and certain categories or people, such as war criminals, who do not qualify for refugee status. The Convention was limited to protecting mainly European refugees in the aftermath of World War II, but another document, the 1967 Protocol, expanded the scope of the Convention as the problem of displacement spread around the world.