Athens – City of Eternity
In the city of Platon, Heradon, Aristotelys, Zeus, we had opportunity to meet new friends, learn about other countries and traditions, and visit many beautiful places.
Our first day was Monday. We had “breaking ice” activities. Every country was presenting its school and country. Then we went to Kessariani`s park and visited the National Resistance Museum. After that, we had lunch in Kaisariaani`s Square. On Tuesday we had Red cross workshop – “it could be me, it could be you”. We had lunch and we visited the Stayros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and a marina Flisbos. On Wednesday we walked trough the historical paths of Athens, from the theatre of Herodeion to the rock of Acropolis, then to the theatre of Dionysus, and than to the Acropolis Museum. At the end of the day we had lunch at Monastiraki and walk to Plaka and Kerameikos. Thursday was our cruise day. We had opportunity to sail to three islands. Our first stop was Hydra. Then we visited Poros and had lunch on broad. Aegina was the last island that we visited. We had walks trough these islands and we saw a lot of interesting things. Our last day was Friday. First we had a workshop “Monologues across the Aegean Sea”. After that we had brunch and Round Table – every student was invited to share his\her experience, feelings and impressions. Than we had our closing ceremony. At the end we visited the Temple of Poseidon and we had dinner at Lavrio, and we went back to Athens.
It was very interesting week, we met new friends, and visited very beautiful places. We won`t forget this experience for the rest of our lifes.
In the past two school years I have had the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus + project, along with students and teachers from my school and from 5 European countries. From October 1 to October 5, 2018, we stayed in Athens, Caesarea. While we were there, we had many lectures, workshops, and visits. I was particularly impressed by the film we watched during the Red Cross workshop, based on stories from real-life migrants, their courage, sadness, pain, their rescue, their difficulties, hunger, their sleepless nights, the unfortunate loss of many lives. . … We also realized that beautiful Aegean waters are, unfortunately, the death of many innocent lives. Those looks were really exciting and sad for us. The pain and empathy we felt at that moment cannot be described, but they will remain in our memories forever. But despite that, we were surprised and amazed at their courage, perseverance and desire for a better tomorrow. After the workshop we talked and each student shared his / her opinion, idea and feelings.
At the end of December in the Geography section, I shared this experience and my painful truth with my school students in order to encourage youth toward humanitarianism. Through maps and pictures, I presented the way to many innocent people who had unwittingly lost their homes and loved ones.
During the month of June we had a visit from group of refugees currently residing in our country which is a transit zone.
We, the participants in the project of Erasmus+, Humanity has no borders, have invited them to be our guest.
On the geography section we introduced them to their desired destination.
Although no other country can replace the birthplace, family and childhood we have tried to introduce to the characteristics and beauties of individual countries. Because every country is beautiful in its own way!
During our week long Erasmus kick-off project twelve students in the eleventh class made first contact with the refugee home in walking distance from our school.
We were able to view a home, talk to Frau Maas- the social worker at the home- and most important, but also unsettling, speak to two refugee women living there. One woman was a journalist who fled Afghanistan because of political persecution. The other woman came from Eritrea and had spent 3 years on the run before settling in Germany. She had met and lost her husband during this time.
We were very thankful and touched that these women shared their very personal stories with us. Their courage was truly inspirational.
During our project it became clear to the Erasmus team that our school truly is multi-cultural- something we feel proud of. 40% of our students come from migrant backgrounds and over 24 countries are represented at our school.
To celebrate and commemorate this fact the Erasmus team sponsored a flag mosaic that is now hanging on the wall in our main lobby .
On May 23 and 24 Herr Müller, a mosaic artist, together with 24 students from grades 5 to 7 made the flags. It was an enjoyable experience for everyone and a geography lesson for some.
We hope to expand the mosaic with new flags in the future.
Willy-Brandt-Gesamtschule Kerpen/ May 2019
While talking to the social workers at the refugee home in Horrem, they made clear to us that what the refugees and asylum seekers – especially the men – desperately needed was an indoor place where they were allowed to play football on a regular basis.
After contacting several people and with the support of Frau Seiche – the representative for refugees and asylum seekers in Kerpen – between 25 and 40 refugee men play football every Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm in our school gym.
Several of our former students have also joined the team making this a truly multi-cultural experience.
It was a real pleasure watching them play. I was amazed at how talented many of the men were and their sense of fair play.
Willy-Brandt-Gesamtschule Kerpen/ October 2018