The last few weeks we’ve introduced a new workshop in our weekly activities: the “Language Cafe”! Our “Language Cafe”, facilitated by members of the Velos Youth team, is a space where we sit with the young people, make coffee, and chat!

What’s the catch? ….. Each of us might be speaking a different language!

This workshop is an opportunity to learn from and teach each other about our own language and culture. Its a way to embrace all the diversity of our space, and truly create a community bonded by our similarities and differences.

“It’s very good to have the language cafe workshops because some people don’t know how to speak other languages except their home language so we try to support them to learn. If they know so many languages it’s also very easy for them to communicate […] when they are going to any organisation to ask for support – they become very flexible [and communication becomes less challenging].”

Cultural Mediator facilitating the Language Cafe

What has been unique to observe is the pure interest and curiosity of everyone participating towards learning about all the different languages, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, etc.

“Up until now, we focused on compound words that occur from parts of the body – that’s what led to the creation of the monstrosity called Velakis! (see image below) We began asking about such words in different languages, and then guessing what they would result to if put together (for example head + ache= headache; and it’s the same in Greek!) – the young people were impressed! Of course this did not always work, and in our efforts to explore it more it led to some very funny results and a lot of laughter. It is overall beautiful to find words that were very similar in the different languages, however with all these languages [going around at the same time], in the end it was very useful that we all knew how to say we have a headache!”

Youth Worker facilitating the Language Cafe
Our new creation, Velakis

The “Language Cafe” sheds light on the passion and the willingness to learn more and to learn from each other. Ultimately, discussion spaces like these empower the young people visiting us to have confidence and to connect with others in calm, safe, and fun ways, even through the things that make us different.