-Destination-

Greece, Refugee Program

Since 2015, more than one million people, fleeing war, persecution, natural disasters, and poverty, have risked their lives through perilous sea and land crossings to seek refuge in Greece. Recent international political policies have limited immigration out of Greece resulting in more than 60,000 people currently trapped, scattered across detention centers and makeshift camps and the number is increasing daily. Living in substandard conditions and lack of adequate food, medical care, and information have heightened depression and uncertainty for camp residents. Your Squad has an opportunity to help restore dignity, share compassion by providing direct support at refugee camps in Greece.

Supporting the Ritsona Refugee Camp

Ristona is one of the largest refugee camps in Greece with more families coming every day. With our sister organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions, we manage the operations of Ritsona’s distribution center, a critical dispensary of milk, hygiene products, and clothing. Over the last year, many organizations have pulled their support even though the need is increasing and we have been asked to fill that void. in addition to supporting the distribution center, our volunteers, with the support of our local team, have the opportunity to provide Ritsona with much needed small construction projects such as improving child and female friendly spaces and educational infrastructure. This is your opportunity to fulfill fundamental human rights for refugees with compassion, dignity, and humanity.

Home-base Location

Located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia, Greece boasts the longest coastline of the Mediterranean Basin and 227 inhabited islands. The birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, and major scientific and mathematical principles, the country retains world-renowned landmarks and historical sites to explore. In Chalkida, the city of “mad waters” and the administrative and commercial capital of the mainland island of Evia, you can take in Greek culture on pedestrian boardwalks or take in a Greek sunset along the waterfront.

OUR IN-COUNTRY STAFF

Led by CONSTANTINA STRIKOU

Constantina Strikou (second from right) has been involved in supporting refugees since the crisis started in 2015. With a background in policy and advocacy campaigns in humanitarian efforts, Constantina jumped in as a Program Coordinator with ActionAid Hellas in emergency refugee response. On the front lines on the Greek islands, Constantina experienced first-hand the emotional struggles that refugee families face in arriving in a new land, and brings her perspectives and experiences to support our volunteers in providing meaningful and thoughtful support to camp residents. An experienced aid professional with a rich background in on-the-ground relief work, Constantina’s guidance during your program provides an invaluable context to a challenging, but rewarding environment.

The Cultural Activities

Each weekday afternoon our staff guide volunteers on Cultural & Learning Activities in the local area. From Arabic and Greek lessons — learning basic phrases to converse, as well as artisan craft workshops and cooking lesson that contextualize your experience in authentic culture. There are also endless opportunities for enrichment activities nearby. Take a boat through the Euripus Strait, right off the Aegean Sea, and see the varied and rugged islands of central Greece. Take an afternoon hike to the Chalkida lighthouse, boasting relics of the bronze age, and overlook beautiful views of crystal clear waters surrounding Evia Island. Tour Greece’s capital, Athens, the city famous for hosting the first Olympic games, founding the world’s first democracy, and adapting one of the world’s first alphabets. View the majesty and history of the Parthenon, test your sprinting skills on an Olympic track, and take a stroll through the ancient Agora. The ancient influences and educational discoveries of Greek culture and history are abound.

The Weekend Enrichment Activities, To Greek Islands (optional add-on packages)

On the weekends your Squad may choose to explore other areas of the country through our guided overnight packages. Greece is famous for its striking islands, filled with blue and white architecture, against the backdrop of the Mediterranean. Spend a weekend lounging on the Greek islands, or hopping between a few to experience delicious food, a warm and welcoming culture, and the peaceful island life.