Benefizkonzert für Volonteers for Lesvos

Im JUKuz, einer Jugendbegegnungsstätte in Alt Treptow im Kungerkiez traten am 18. November 2018 fünf Chöre bei der Veranstaltung „Die Weltberliner und Freunde – Benefizkonzert für die Flüchtlingshilfe auf Lesbos“ auf. Sie sangen Lieder vom 16. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert aus aller Welt. Bis auf den Begegnungschor kamen die Chöre aus dem Kiez oder der Neuköllner Nachbarschaft.

Es waren ca. 150 Menschen allen Alters und vor allem viele Familien mit Kindern anwesend. Im  vollen Saal herrschte eine tolle Stimmung. Bei einigen Liedern wurde mitgesungen, im vorgegebenen Rhythmus geklatscht oder mit den Fingern geschnipst. Viele Migranten und Geflüchtete sangen in den Chören mit oder musizierten.

Ein Mitglied von Respekt für Griechenland hatte die Gelegenheit, gleich am Anfang etwas über die Situation der Geflüchteten auf Lesbos, die Tätigkeiten der Volunteers for Lesvos und die Verwendung der Spendengelder zu sagen.

In der Pause und am Ende wurde gesammelt. Es kamen 1220.- Euro an Spendengeldern zusammen.

Wir freuen uns sehr und bedanken uns herzlich bei den Chören und den Menschen, die gespendet haben – ganz besonders bei dem Chor „Die Weltberliner“, von dem der Anstoß kam, mit dem Konzert die „Volunteers for Lesvos“ zu unterstützen. www.die-weltberliner.de

Anne Brulez (Respekt für Griechenland)

 

Neu eröffnet: WELCOMMON Hostel in Athen

– a new experience in responsible tourism-

Zu den neu eröffneten Gästeetagen im Welcommon Hostel ein Text von Nikos Chrysogelos:

Nikos Chrysogelos, Social cooperative Wind of Renewal,  beginning of June 2018:

The WELCOMMON Hostel is a seven-floor facility for people of all ages. We would like to welcome you during your visit to Athens. We can also help you plan your stay in the city. WELCOMMON is not just a hostel, it is also part of a social experiment, a center for innovation and art, as well as social and job integration.

We can organize your study trip in the city and provide details about interesting social events and groups; we can also supply you with all necessary information on other Greek cities, an island or a mountainside; we can connect you with cycling groups, or let you know the secrets of culinary delights, we can host your seminar or workshop; we can also host a painting exhibition or a cultural event.

BE SURE TO CONTACT US before arriving in Athens, let us know about your needs and your interests!

The Hostel, Welcome in Common
You have a variety of options for accommodation in WELCOMMON; you may like to share an eight-bed dormitory with your friends or other travelers; or you may prefer to stay in a three-bed room, a twin or double bedroom or a single; you may need a cheap room or you may be willing to pay a little more for some extra perks; or you may like to go for a room with a balcony. Regardless of what you select, all rooms are comfortable, clean and attractive; a lot has been artistically designed with reused items, always with your comfort in mind.

How is WELCOMMON Hostel different?
WELCOMMON Hostel means welcome in common – together. It is not only an opportunity to stay in a good place in the Greek capital; it is also a way to:
enjoy your stay in the city,
discover its social, cultural and environmental side,
exchange experiences and ideas,
learn and “share”; you can participate in activities we organize (art exhibits, non-formal education, music events, visits to cultural sites and activities, etc…) or you can organize something yourself (e.g. a concert, painting classes or even give a speech!).

Training for social and employment issues
Although the hostel is no longer a refugee hosting center and has been refurbished into a modern facility, two floors of the WELCOMMON Hostel are used as an open center for social empowerment and inclusion. The aim is to create new employment opportunities for everyone in areas such as upcycling, ethnic cuisines, culture, green / cyclic economy, energy efficiency and others. Our societies must not accept generations being lost, we must not leave young persons, Greeks, migrants, refugees behind.

We offer classes (e.g. for language, painting, puppet show, music etc) with the support of volunteers to refugees, migrants, local people, tourists; we work for the empowerment and training of our guests and design interactive workshops for the professional training and promotion of the abilities and qualifications of refugees, especially the young persons, along with Greek nationals, in order to be able to find their way in our societies for the benefit of our societies.

As a visitor of Athens you could participate in an event or even present a topic to other guests or visitors in our WELCOMMON Hostel, in our meeting corners, in our “classrooms”, or during drinking a juice, a coffee or a herbal tea in our café or in our socializing bar and restaurant “In Common”. It is real!

Discover the other side of the city
Your stay in the WELCOMMON Hostel is also a chance for you to discover what is going on in the city. You could join initiatives working for the transformation of the city and its environmental protection, you could contact human rights groups or initiatives working with the unemployed, young people or for the inclusion of the refugees. There is an interesting, hidden side of the city, a real live and fresh city within the city; our community is ready to host you and work with you.

You help us boost the social impact of our project
When you choose to stay with us you contribute to the employment of a fantastic group of  people, consisting of a number of long-term unemployed Greeks, migrants and refugees who have settled in Greece.

The first step is crucial: we want to be financially and socially sustainable, we try to improve our services, to make our hostel more convenient, friendly and live, more artistic and social. But the next step is also very important to us; we are committed to investing any profits in social and environmental improvements, in the transition to an energy-efficient and green economy, in creating a new center for the most vulnerable; we also aim to contribute to reducing the energy poverty of households, offering them know-how and support so that they can exit a difficult situation through social empowerment and energy efficiency.

You can feel the history of WELCOMMON
The WELCOMMON Hostel
has a quite uncommon, interesting history. For many years the building was used as a public clinic. During the Greek economic crisis, in February 2013, the clinic was shut down and merged with a bigger hospital. We, the social cooperative Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal –working for the promotion of the social and green innovation and economy– began renting the building in August 2016. We refurbished it in order to transform it into an innovative center for the hosting and social inclusion of the most vulnerable refugees. The project was not simply meant to be for the refugees but with the refugees –working with them for their benefit, as well as that of the neighborhood and the local community.  It became one of the most innovative and creative centers for hosting, empowering and socially including refugees, based on the idea of “empowerment through the community”.

What was different with WELCOMMON
WELCOMMON, an accommodation and social inclusion center for refugees, featured four important innovations:

  1. Overhauling of old building. We rented and upgraded –at minimum cost and with voluntary work –a 3200 m2 building in the centre of Athens that had remained closed since 2013 (ex hospital). We overhauled it and created a model community centre with a hosting capacity of up to 160-180 refugees. In total, 600 refugees from 22 countries (half of them kids) were hosted between October 2016 and February 28, 2018, upgrading and revitalizing the Exarcheia neighborhood (near Kanigos Square).
  1. Accommodation for the most vulnerable groups of refugees and in need of urgent care, such as: people with chronic diseases, serious psychological disorders, disabilities, victims of torture, sexual abuse and trafficking, pregnant women and families with newborns. The residents of Welcommon included 40 newborn babies and pregnant women.
  1. Μodel facility for empowerment and care, based on the idea of ‘’community’’ and combining safe accommodation with social inclusion and job integration of people with high vulnerability. We provided a social clinic, psycho-social support, non-formal education, support for kids who needed to register in Greek schools, social support services and job integration processes. Our “community model” can be suitable also for other communities and neighborhoods –especially areas that have collapsed socially and economically and need to be revitalized on a new basis. It was organized on the basis of the needs of the community and was successful thanks to wide participation and extensive collaborations.
  1. Search for solutions for decent work both for refugees/immigrants and unemployed Greeks, in common /together with them and in innovative sectors.

The WELCOMMON center was our proposal for the role that the social economy could play in inclusion issues, combining the hosting of vulnerable persons with new models of social inclusion, empowerment and mobilization of people in need in general, not just refugees. We cooperated with many social organizations –including 15 universities, students and more than 230 volunteers from all over the world during the operation of the center. Many social groups, MEPs and MPs, international organizations and representatives of municipalities visited us.

It was a project in cooperation with the UNHCR and the Development Agency of the Municipality of Athens.  It was a pity that the two institutions  decided on January 18, 2018 to “discontinue the collective accommodation in WELCOMMON starting March 1, 2018, in order to focus on accommodation in apartments, which facilitates independent living. After their decision to stop financing the housing program for the refugees we decided to try to continue our innovative work by financing our initiatives through the Hostel rather than depend on third actors. We are committed to striving for maximizing the benefit for society. We are active in social, human and environmental rights, we can’t do less than needed in our times. We are convinced that acting in common  on an integrated plan we can solve problems in a win-win manner.

Learn about our history, contribute to the change
You can learn about our model, a community model, for the protection but also the inclusion of refugees. It is a model we could adjust for other vulnerable social groups, too. You can experience some of our activities, participating in workshops, language and painting, photo exhibitions, video or info-material. But you can also meet some of our previous guests, working now for the WELCOMMON Hostel, being part of our new community.

We are part of the social change we want to see happen
Athens is a city in crisis but at the same time one can see a real change if one decides to be part of the social and ecological change. We have decided to be part of this social change.

In the WELCOMMON Hostel we can introduce you to the world of Greece’s social economy and you can learn about its strengths and weaknesses. You can also contribute with your ideas and experience.

The #WELCOMMON Hostel highlights the positive impact that cooperatives and social enterprises have on communities, revitalizing neighborhoods, making bridges between communities, social groups, newcomers and local people. Anemos Ananeosis/Wind of Renewal has a strong commitment to building a better world through social and green innovation and the cooperative business model. We want to influence the direction of our society to become more sustainable and ecologically and socially fair.

About the Future of Hostel WELCOMMON in Athen

Nikos Chrysogelos an „Respekt für Griechenland“/ Februar 2018

We have discused a lot with our members and friends about the future of WELCOMMON and the modification of our plan. It is true that without a support by the state or the UNHCR there is no possibity to continue this innovative center because the cost is high. We have worked hard and we will continue on working for such a community model for hosting and social inclusion of refugees. But the building is big and the cost high.

Possible alternatives for funding

The existence of WELCOMMON in the current form is possible only if there is a support by an institution which has enough sources to support us. We have contacted some big foundations in Greece like Niarchos Foundation but there is no will for supporting us, they don’t understand even the need for innovation in hosting and inclusion of refugees. We have confirmed that the government will not open a call before 2019. At the european level there are no calls for such programs although (maybe as a result of a pressure by us together with other organisations) there is a discussion for the establishment at the european level for a financial tool for innovative projects they could use social enterprises – but it will take some years!. There are many organisations and networks willing to express their support to us, but it seems very difficult to have a result in one month. I met a lot of networks and organisations in Brussels during my recent trip and they will support our campaign with a letter of support. But we can’t wait for a very quick response concerning funding. Many people haven’t realized the end of the project by the end of February and they tell us that this is not …possible. They get crazy when they realise it. But the decision by the Mynicipality and the UNHCR is final and it will not change, although they are many serious problems concerning the housing of all the refugees and many refugees deny to leave from WELCOMMON, and the situation in some appartments is worrying or very bad etc. Today Claudia Roth visited WELCOMMON and discussed not only with us but also with many of our guests (even with people they now stay in appartments). She was very excited of our community and the innovation, but obviously she can not do much more than talk to the Municipality and the head of UNHCR tomorrow.

Our plan

In brief. we have decided to continue into 2 directions:

(a)  We are now planning to turn the existed building to a touristic hostel (WELCOMMON Hostel) with a social impact approach. That means we will employee refugees and some unemployed greeks to run it. Two of the floors will host social and job integration activities for refugees, migrants and greeks. We want to improve the decoration and infrastructure of the building until the end of March or April, to buy extra infrastructure needed for such an activity and to increace the energy efficiency of the building immediately. We will try to be ready and start in April. We will also focus on workshops for social inclusion and job preparation, like energy issues, culture of food from different areas, music, upcycling etc. We are also planning 3 days per week to offer multi-ethnic cuisine and cultural events for any person interested in participating (guest in WELCOMMON Hostel or other people), to connect the visitors/tourists with groups organising mountain climbing, cycling tours, city guiding to social activities and centers, etc in order to offer more chances for jobs and integration for the refugees and greeks. We are looking for funding but there are also some friends willing to participate together with our social cooperative in the investment for social impact.

(b) We are looking for extra sources in order to be able to open a „smaller WELCOMMON“ as a social housing center for the most vulnerable, offering to them some of the social servises existed in WELCOMMON (let’s call it WELCOMMON small community center). If we are able to find sources for such a building, we will open this new center in 6 months. We will not offer food, only social and health services and they will cook themselves in their appartments. We will keep the main idea, creating an open community in one or two block of flats.

Existed activities

We will keep on doing the activities for/with children in any case and we will use the rooms / place of the 2 floors of the current building for social activities, training, forums, seminars, lessons, painting etc. Responsible for these activities will be Lizeta and she will be responisble for the daily cooperation with the volunteers. So maybe you must inform the foundation about the change of the name, Lizeta instead of Vera. We will focus on the children hosted in WELCOMMON all these months but also some other children they want to participate (already there are many participating in lessons offered by the volunteers).

The second person, starting from 1st o March, will be from our social service, Vaso Mouzaki. She is more experienced and has good mute and relationships with refugees established all this period.

(i) She will help Lizeta

(ii) she will be responsible for the training of volunteers and all the logistics

(iii) she will be responsible for the communication with the universities (she has the professional certification and she can sign as a supervisor for social workers if a univeristy needs such a certification).

We will keep the 4 axes we have discussed for the 2 positions and there is no change of the agreement you have done with the 2 foundations. If we are successful with the new application to Erasmus+ for the next period we could also hire again Georgia and Vera, but we will know it in July.

We will continue on hosting volunteers in WELCOMMON Hostel for the social activities and non formal education.

Νίκος Χρυσόγελος
Nikos Chrysogelos

Zur Crowdfundingkampagne für Volunteers for Lesvos

Um unser Projekt über den Winter fortsetzen zu können, haben wir aktuell unsere Crowdfunding-Kampagne Volunteers for Lesvos – unterstützt Menschen auf der Flucht! auf betterplace.org geschaltet.

Berichte von Freiwilligen vor Ort von Lesvos aber auch von der Flüchtlingshilfe in Athen sind hier zu finden:  Berichte und Fotos (alternativer Link hierzu)

Liebe Freund*innen der Initiative Respekt für Griechenland,
liebe Interessierte,

der Winter kommt! Circa 5.400 Geflüchtete sitzen zur Zeit immer noch unter unmenschlichen Bedingungen im berühmt/berüchtigten „Hot Spot“ Moria auf der Insel Lesbos fest.
Das Camp ist trotz des Transfers von Geflüchteten aufs griechische Festland in den letzten zwei Wochen nach wie vor völlig überbelegt, viele der Menschen haben nur kleine Iglu-Zelte zur Verfügung, die kaum Schutz gegen Kälte und Nässe bieten. Es droht eine ähnliche humanitäre Katastrophe wie zu Anfang des Jahres, als die Zelte unter der Schneelast zusammenbrachen und mehrere Menschen starben.

Über das Projekt
Volunteers for Lesvos ist ein unabhängiges Freiwilligen- und Solidaritätsprojekt des gemeinnützigen Vereins Respekt für Griechenland e.V., das seit Herbst 2015 Rettungsschwimmer*innen,  Sozialarbeiter*innen,  Mediziner*innen, Handwerker*innen, Köch*innen, Arabisch-, Farsi- oder Dari- Sprechenden etc. nach Lesbos bringt. Wir kooperieren mit verschiedenen lokalen Initiativen und NGOs, die sich seit Jahren engagieren, um die Lage für die Ankommenden erträglicher zu machen, Versorgungslücken zu schließen und sichere Räume zu schaffen.
Seit dem EU-Türkei-Deal und der Schließung der europäischen Grenzen gibt es so gut wie keine Möglichkeit zur Weiterreise, Lesbos ist für viele zur Endstation geworden. Die Camps, allen voran Moria, sind überfüllt, zumal in den letzten Monaten wieder mehr Schutzsuchende ankamen: Um die 6.000 waren es nach den offiziellen Zahlen des UNHCR allein von September bis November 2017 – so viele wie lange nicht.
Gleichzeitig  wurde die medizinische, psychosoziale und juristische Betreuung durch finanzielle Kürzungen weiter eingeschränkt, obwohl es grundsätzlich an Ärzt*innen, Psycholog*innen, Übersetzer*innen und Anwält*innen fehlt. Die Menge und Qualität des Essens ist oft mangelhaft, die Geflüchteten sind medizinisch unterversorgt, warten teilweise Monate auf ihre Anhörung. Es gibt keine reguläre Rechtsberatung, die wenigen NGOs und Anwälte, die Beratung und Vorbereitung auf das Asylverfahren anbieten, kommen bei der Bearbeitung der Anträge nicht hinterher. Viele der Menschen leben in Angst vor Abschiebung oder gewaltsamen Übergriffen, es kommt verstärkt zu Selbstverletzung. Neben der Bereitstellung der Grundversorgung braucht es also vor allem eines:

Freiwillige…
…die z.B. am Strand die Boote empfangen,
…die z.B. bei Pikpa in der Küche arbeiten
…die z.B. im OHF-Community Center in der Kleiderausgabe tätig sind.

Die Boote müssen an Land gebracht werden, das Essen zubereitet, Kleiderspenden sortiert und verteilt, Anträge geschrieben, Interviews übersetzt werden und vieles mehr. Hier setzt unser Projekt an.

Wir stellen ein Team von 6-10 wechselnden Freiwilligen zusammen, die über einen längeren Zeitraum bleiben können und Fähigkeiten mitbringen, die am dringendsten gebraucht werden. Die Arabisch, Farsi, Dari, Türkisch, eine der kurdischen Sprachen oder Französisch sprechen, die Erfahrung in der Art der Arbeit haben, die juristisch, medizinisch, psychologisch oder pädagogisch geschult sind.

Alle Freiwilligen arbeiten ehrenamtlich, die meisten, besonders die Langzeitfreiwilligen, brauchen aber Zuschüsse zu Reise-, Miet- oder Lebenshaltungskosten, um ihren oft monatelangen Einsatz realisieren zu können. Ihre Arbeit ist umso wichtiger geworden, seit viele der Schutzsuchenden auf den griechischen Inseln festsitzen, da v.a. die Kontinuität der Angebote (wie Unterricht, Kinderbetreuung, Beratung) langfristig etwas bewirken kann.
Unser Team beteiligt sich regelmäßig an den Nachtschichten an der Küste; unsere Koordinatorin vor Ort ist Rettungsschwimmerin, schult neue Freiwillige und gibt Workshops auch für andere NGOs.

Volunteers for Lesvos helfen aber auch bei der Versorgung derjenigen, die aus Furcht vor Abschiebung außerhalb der Camps Zuflucht suchen, in leerstehenden Gebäuden oder am Strand schlafen.

All das neben dem Unterrichten und den Workshops in den übrigen Camps und Sozial- und Gemeinschaftszentren etc., also der Arbeit, die versucht, so etwas wie normale Lebensbedingungen zu schaffen und, wenn auch eingeschränkt, eine Perspektive zu bieten. Das ist gut und sehr wichtig, ein kleiner Lichtblick in all der Hoffnungslosigkeit.

Tätigkeitsfelder der Teilnehmer*innen in Kooperation mit verschiedenen Initiativen/NGOs:

•    Beteiligung an der Beobachtung des Meeres/Empfang der ankommenden Boote und ggf. der Sicherstellung der Erstversorgung am Strand.
•    Schichtdienst in verschiedenen Camps, auch abends und nachts
•    Vorbereitung von Foodboxen, Hilfe beim Kochen, wenn möglich nicht nur für sondern mit Geflüchteten, Essensausgabe
•    Mithilfe bei der Versorgung von Geflüchteten ohne feste Unterkunft in Kooperation mit einer Partnerorganisation
•    Sortieren und Verteilen von Kleidung
•    Workcamps zusammen mit Bewohnern, u.a. zur Reparatur oder Verschönerung ihrer Unterkünfte
•    Unterrichten (z.B. Deutsch/Englisch)
•    Workshops z.B. zu Arts & Crafts, Storytelling etc.
•    Anbieten weiterer Aktivitäten wie z.B. Spielen mit den Kindern, Ausflüge, Sport, Musik…
•    Übersetzen/Ermöglichen von Kommunikation (u.a. auch bei Arztbesuchen und Rechtsberatung) durch Projektteilnehmer, die Arabisch oder Farsi sprechen
•    Versorgung/Unterstützung besonders Bedürftiger/Kranker durch medizinisch und psychologisch geschulte Teammitglieder
•    Mithilfe z.B. beim Einlegen von Widerspruch in den Asylverfahren durch Jurist*innen.
•    Anregung und Koordination gemeinsamer Aktivitäten mehrerer Initiativen und NGOs
•    Recherche von Informationen, die Teilnahme an Veranstaltungen des UNHCR und Meetings mit anderen NGOs sowie das Schreiben von Berichten.

Bitte spendet jetzt! Jeder Euro hilft!

Weitere Infos findet Ihr auch auf unserem Blog unter https://volunteersforlesvos.wordpress.com

Es dankt und sendet liebe Grüße,

Anja Schneider
Projektleiterin Volunteers for Lesvos für Respekt für Griechenland e.V.

Freiwillige für Model Hostel WELCommon in Athen

Model Hostel WELCommon
Im Zentrum von Athen entstand im Herbst 2016 in einer ehemaligen Klinik ein wegweisendes Wohnprojekt für Flüchtlinge. Leitlinien des Modellvorhabens sind: Beteiligung der Bewohner an der Gestaltung des Hauses, Eigenverantwortung und Aktivierung vorhandener Fähigkeiten, Verbindung zum Stadtteil. Das Haus soll ein Community Center mit Arbeitsplätzen für Geflüchtete und Einheimische werden. Eine Sozialklinik mit Arabisch sprechenden Ärzten ist im Aufbau. Das Wohnprojekt geht in seinem Anspruch also weit über eine Bereitstellung von Unterkunft und Verpflegung hinaus. Es kann beispielgebend für andere Flüchtlingsunterkünfte werden –nicht nur in Griechenland. Diese hochgesteckten Ziele machen es für Freiwillige, die nicht nur einzelnen Menschen helfen, sondern an gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen mitwirken wollen, spannend und lehrreich, sich dort einzubringen.  „Freiwillige für Model Hostel WELCommon in Athen“ weiterlesen

Spendenaufruf für „Mobile Küche für Piräus“

Der Verein „Solidarität von Piräus“ betreibt standortgebunden eine „social kitchen“, um Armen und Bedürftigen aus der Nachbarschaft eine warme Mahlzeit anbieten zu können. Wir wollen für diese Gruppe eine zusätzliche Kochausrüstung beschaffen, damit Mahlzeiten mobil, das heißt im ganzen Stadtgebiet von Piräus angeboten werden können. „Spendenaufruf für „Mobile Küche für Piräus““ weiterlesen