After her three-week volunteering experience at Velos Youth, Alex, a member of our partners Omprakash, has written a strong blog post titled “Re-imagining Our Communities During the Covid-19 Pandemic”. Drawing from her experience at our day centre, she explores how community borders are strengthened during this period of uncertainty, but also how spaces like Velos are key drivers in breaking down there “imagined divisions”.

“Driven in part by my own search for community while on the move, I have spent a good deal of time in various community centers over the past decade, and I think of them as some of the most important spaces we have for fostering inclusion and tolerance, and for helping us to challenge divisions and exclusions, both at the micro-level of human interactions, and at the macro-level of national and international politics — and, of course, each begets the other.”

Alex Knott, Omprakash, in the article “Re-imagining Our Communities During the Covid-19 Pandemic”

During her time with Velos, amongst other things Alex facilitated theatre workshops and community mapping workshops. Both were aimed at increasing the interactions between young people and reducing some of the imagined barriers which may arise even within the safest of spaces.

“I have previously written and discussed the importance of ‘challenging borders’ when working with refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers — through advocacy efforts, but also, crucially, through our words and interactions. Velos Youth embodies this ideal; the team […] create opportunities for these boys and young men — from many different backgrounds — to come together through learning, art, games, music and dance[…]. The team itself, which is composed of refugees, Greek citizens, and non-refugee immigrants to Greece, embodies what it means to work and collaborate across various differences, themselves challenging imagined barriers. And the tone that the Velos team sets pervades the space and the boys’ interactions with one another.”

Alex Knott, Omprakash, in the article “Re-imagining Our Communities During the Covid-19 Pandemic”

We thank Alex for her valuable time in Athens and for sharing her observations and experience.

You can read the full blog post here.