Velos Entrepreneurship Workshop

Velos Youth introduced our first ever Entrepreneurship Workshop to teach our young people how to think like an entrepreneur. It is very important for these young people to develop such skills which will benefit their future professional endeavours.

Many of the young people have been interested in the stories of entrepreneurs from all over the world and so we have been running workshops to develop their interests and skills in these areas. In the workshops, we are learning new terms commonly used in business environments and generating discussions on what makes a good manager or employee.

Alongside these discussions about business, we have been encouraging the young people to gain confidence and experience in presenting their ideas. At the end of the sessions, the young people have to present their findings to the rest of the group. This has been extremely rewarding for the young people who are listening and for the young people who learn to present in a professional manner. 

We are always looking for new learning opportunities, skills and ideas to engage the young people who visit us in. If you would like to run a workshop in Velos, share with us your workshop ideas – even if you are uncertain, we can help you developing one!

This is the best workshop

17 year old from Afghanistan about our Entrepreneurship workshop

If you would like to support Velos Youth, have a look at some of our needs.

Receiving support at Velos

As a safe space for young people, Velos Youth aims to support those who visit us holistically. For many, we are a “home away from home” and a place to escape. However, we recognise how important support and guidance on material and procedural matters is too!

Our Youth Work team aims to provide the support each individual needs! Through our referral system and by utilising our collaborations and recognising the diversity of services provided across Athens, we connect every young person to the service he/she needs and support their progress and communication after they have been referred.

Some of the most common needs involve finding education and employment opportunities, legal and medical support, and access to basic needs such as clothes and shoes.

When it comes to education, we support young people in setting learning goals and guide them to find available courses, communicate with educators, use learning resources, and more. Similar support is provided for young adults who are seeking employment. We direct them to our partners who can give them advice on finding available work opportunities, writing a CV, preparing for an interview and obtaining the necessary legal documentation to be eligible to work in Greece.

Additionally, here young people can get easy access to legal information and guidance on where to get more specialised legal support. They can also be assisted in booking medical appointments and in finding appropriate locations to meet their medical needs. We have also welcomed individuals with legal and medical expertise in our space!

Our team aims to stay knowledgable and up to date to accurately support each young person, and as we have grown these past few months we hope to do an even better job for whoever comes to this ‘home’.

Conversation of two young people visiting Velos Youth:

First young person: “These people they are just so great, they help me. I have so many problems outside of here, but I come here and they help me so much.” 

Second young person: “I was exactly like this two years ago, and they helped me too! Now I have a job, I’m in school and I stay in an apartment.” 

16 year old from Afghanistan

“[Youth worker] is the reason that my family reunification was successful, because he made sure I had a lawyer and social worker. He guided me every step of the way.”

Strengthening Creativity

Velos Youth has incorporated new Arts activities in its weekly program as we recognise the importance of expression and creativity.

Every young person should have the opportunity to explore their creative self in a safe and open environment. Through our Photography workshop and our Creative Arts workshop taking place every week, we empower the people visiting Velos to express themselves by showing them new techniques and setting new themes. So far, we have created collages, painted on cardboard from old boxes, drawn optical illusions, and more, and have visited three different locations around Athens to take pictures.

We are very proud of every individuals participation and the art our young people create is beautiful. To share this artistic form of expression, every week the new art pieces are displayed on our “Art of the Week” board.

We care about providing opportunity through new activities and crafts for the young people visiting us. To donate activity or workshop materials, please email

Transitioning to Adulthood: A Path to Autonomy and Self-Reliance

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Given the complex needs of young displaced persons in Athens, a holistic approach to transitioning to adulthood and integration is essential. Velos Youth has recently secured funding from the European Program for Integration and Migration in order to enhance those areas of its program that are closely linked to this. In partnership with HumanRights360 and Day Centre Babel we have developed and will deliver a new initiative titled ‘Transitioning to Adulthood: A Path to Autonomy and Self-Reliance’. This project will enhance the work of Velos Youth, supporting young people to restart and rebuild their lives. We will fill the three main gaps highlighted by two years of working with this age group in Athens: social integration activities, employability, and access to consistent psychological care. We have partnered with HumanRights360 to replicate and tailor their recently piloted employability program, and with Day Centre Babel to provide long-term psychological care. Together we will also develop a new advocacy strategy tailored by the challenges faced by these young people.

We will support young people to re-start their lives through providing or supporting access to:

  • Safe space: Participants have access to the Velos Youth Centre, an established safe space, where they can participate in activities offered, access basic services, emotional support and guidance from a team of professionals.
  • Case Management: The social workers at Velos Youth meet with young people 1:1 to identify their immediate needs, through a registration process. Based on the needs established the individual is connected to specialist services (psychological support, medical care, legal advice, accommodation registration for minors etc.).  Through the registration process young people are placed on the case management system that monitors their needs, sets goals and tracks their process.
  • Psychological support: Young people in need of psychological support will be referred to Babel. They will provide clinical assessments, counselling and psychotherapy either in a 1:1 or in a group setting. Babel will also provide support to the individual’s environment including his/her family, staff and professionals that support them, in order to provide a more holistic approach.
  • Education: As each young person has a different educational background and future expectations, Velos Youth developed a tool called LEAP (Learning & Education Action Plan). LEAP fosters 1:1 dialogue in order for young people to make sense of their learning and educational realities, which also allows the discussion to proceed with the planning of small and staggered goals. Learning is supported with referrals to public schools, language courses and extracurricular activities. Velos staff also support learning by offering support for homework.
  • Employability support: HumanRights360 will lead the employability support for young adults. An Employability Councillor will aid in recording their typical and soft skills, offer guidance on the possibilities of vocational training, as well as other tools available (eg. work permits, “vouchers” for employability, internships etc.), based on their needs and aspirations. They will receive guidance on accessing the labour market, write a CV, and prepare for an interview. The Employability Counsellor will reach out to private companies with the aim of creating a network of companies interested in employing young refugees.
  • Referral pathway to the HumanRights360 integration programme: Young people will learn how to gain the necessary documentation for accessing the labour market while learning how to use these services as independently as possible.
  • Support to securing accommodation: With guidance the participants will be aided in securing accommodation. The project will support young people at similar life stages to work together to source, share the cost of, and maintain their accommodation.

Together we will make transitioning to adulthood and autonomy more efficient. Registrations will be on going and will begin from Monday 21st of October 2019.

Δεδομένων των πολύπλοκων αναγκών των νεαρών προσφύγων στην Αθήνα, είναι απαραίτητη μια ολιστική προσέγγιση για τη μετάβαση στην ενηλικίωση και την ένταξη. Το Velos Youth έχει εξασφαλίσει πρόσφατα χρηματοδότηση από το Ευρωπαϊκό Πρόγραμμα για την Ένταξη και τη Μετανάστευση (EPIM), προκειμένου να ενισχύσει εκείνους τους τομείς που συνδέονται στενά με την διαδικασία της ένταξης. Σε συνεργασία με το HumanRights360 και το Κέντρο Ημέρας “Βαβέλ” αναπτύξαμε και θα εκδώσουμε μια νέα πρωτοβουλία με τίτλο «Transitioning to Adulthood: A Path to Autonomy and Self-Reliance». Το προγραμμα αυτό θα ενισχύσει το έργο του Velos Youth, υποστηρίζοντας τους νέους να σχεδιάσουν εκ νέου τη ζωή τους. Το συγκεκριμένο πρόγραμμα, θα προσπαθήσει να καλύψει τα τρία κύρια κενά που επισημάνθηκαν από τα δύο χρόνια συνεργασίας με αυτή την ηλικιακή ομάδα στην Αθήνα: δραστηριότητες κοινωνικής ένταξης, απασχολησιμότητα και πρόσβαση σε συνεπή ψυχολογική περίθαλψη. Πρόκειται να συνεργαστούμε με το HumanRights360 για να αναπαράγουμε και να προσαρμόσουμε το πρόσφατα δοκιμασμένο πρόγραμμα απασχολησιμότητάς τους, όπως και με το Κέντρο Ημέρας “Βαβέλ” να παρέχει μακροχρόνια ψυχολογική φροντίδα. Οι τρεις συνεργαζόμενοι φορείς, θα αναπτύξουν από κοινού μια νέα στρατηγική υπεράσπισης προσαρμοσμένη στις προκλήσεις που αντιμετωπίζουν αυτοί οι νέοι.

Πιο συγκεκριμένα, θα υποστηρίξουμε τους νέους στο καινούργιο περιβάλλον που ζουν παρέχοντας ή υποστηρίζοντας την πρόσβαση σε:

  • Ασφαλής χώρος: Οι συμμετέχοντες έχουν πρόσβαση στο Velos Youth, έναν ασφαλή χώρο, όπου μπορούν να παίρνουν μέρος σε καθημερινές δραστηριότητες, να έχουν πρόσβαση σε βασικές υπηρεσίες, συναισθηματική υποστήριξη και καθοδήγηση από μια ομάδα επαγγελματιών.
  • Διαχείριση περίπτωσης: Οι κοινωνικοί λειτουργοί του Velos Youth πραγματοποιούν ατομικές συνεδρίες και συναντώνται με τους νέους προκειμένου να εντοπίσουν τις άμεσες ανάγκες τους, μέσα από μια βασική διαδικασία εγγραφής. Με βάση τις υπάρχουσες ανάγκες, το άτομο συνδέεται με εξειδικευμένες υπηρεσίες (ψυχολογική υποστήριξη, ιατρική περίθαλψη, νομικές συμβουλές, παραπομπή για στέγαση σε περιπτώσεις ασυνόδευτων ανηλίκων). Μέσω της διαδικασίας εγγραφής, οι νέοι τοποθετούνται στο σύστημα διαχείρισης υποθέσεων που παρακολουθεί τις ανάγκες τους, θέτει στόχους και παρακολουθεί τη διαδικασία.
  • Ψυχολογική υποστήριξη: Οι νέοι που χρήζουν ψυχολογικής υποστήριξης θα παραπέμπονται στο Κέντρο Ημέρας “Βαβέλ”. Ο ψυχολόγος θα προβαίνει σε κλινικές εκτιμήσεις, ατομική συμβουλευτική και ψυχοθεραπεία, ενώ αν κρίνεται σκόπιμο και θεραπευτικό, θα οργανώνει και ομάδες ψυχοθεραπείας. Το Κέντρο Ημέρας “Βαβέλ” θα παράσχει επίσης στήριξη στο περιβάλλον του ατόμου, συμπεριλαμβανομένης της οικογένειάς του, του προσωπικού και των επαγγελματιών που τον υποστηρίζουν, αν αυτό κρίνεται σκόπιμο, προκειμένου να προσφέρει μια πιο ολιστική προσέγγιση.
  • Εκπαίδευση: Καθώς κάθε νέος έχει διαφορετικό μορφωτικό υπόβαθρο και προσδοκίες για το μέλλον του, το Velos Youth ανέπτυξε το εργαλείο LEAP (Σχέδιο Δράσης Μάθησης & Εκπαίδευσης). Το LEAP ενθαρρύνει το διάλογο σε ατομικό επίπεδο προκειμένου οι νέοι να κατανοήσουν τις μαθησιακές και εκπαιδευτικές τους δυνατότητες και ανάγκες, με σκοπό τον σχεδιασμό επόμενων βημάτων και, τελικά, τον προγραμματισμό μικρών και κλιμακωτών στόχων. Η μάθηση υποστηρίζεται από παραπομπές σε δημόσια σχολεία, μαθήματα γλωσσών και εξωσχολικές δραστηριότητες. Το προσωπικό του Velos Youth υποστηρίζει επίσης την μάθηση μέσω της υποστηρικτικής διδασκαλίας.
  • Υποστήριξη για τη δυνατότητα απασχόλησης: Το HumanRights360 θα αναλάβει την υποστήριξη σε σχέση με την απασχολησιμότητα των νεαρών ενηλίκων. Θα υπάρχει Σύμβουλος Απασχολησιμότητας, ο οποίος θα βοηθήσει στην καταγραφή των τυπικών και άτυπων δεξιοτήτων τους, θα προσφέρει καθοδήγηση σχετικά με τις δυνατότητες επαγγελματικής κατάρτισης καθώς και υποστήριξη σε διαδικαστικά θέματα (π.χ. έκδοση ΑΦΜ, έκδοση ΑΜΚΑ, πρακτική εξάσκηση κ.λπ.). Επιπλέον, οι νεαροί ενήλικες θα έχουν τη δυνατότητα να λάβουν καθοδήγηση σχετικά με την πρόσβαση στην αγορά εργασίας, υποστήριξη στη δημιουργία βιογραφικού σημειώματος και, τέλος, θα μπορούν να προετοιμαστούν για πιθανές συνεντεύξεις. Ο Σύμβουλος Απασχολησιμότητας θα προσεγγίσει, επίσης, ιδιωτικές εταιρείες με στόχο τη δημιουργία δικτύου επιχειρήσεων που ενδιαφέρονται να απασχολούν νέους πρόσφυγες.
  • Σύστημα παραπομπών στο πρόγραμμα ένταξης του HumanRights360: Οι νέοι θα μάθουν πώς να αποκτήσουν τα απαραίτητα έγγραφα για την πρόσβαση στην αγορά εργασίας, ενώ θα μάθουν πώς να χρησιμοποιούν αυτές τις υπηρεσίες όσο το δυνατόν πιο ανεξάρτητα.
  • Υποστήριξη για την εξασφάλιση στέγασης: Με την κατάλληλη καθοδήγηση, οι συμμετέχοντες θα υποστηριχθούν για την εξασφάλιση στέγης. Το πρόγραμμα θα υποστηρίξει νέους ανθρώπους που βρίσκονται σε παρόμοιο στάδιο ζωής, σε μια προσπάθεια αυτόνομης και ανεξάρτητης διαβίωσης από μεριάς τους.

Όλοι μαζί θα προσπαθήσουμε να καταστήσουμε τη μετάβαση στην ενηλικίωση και την αυτονομία πιο αποτελεσματική. Οι παραπομπές και οι εγγραφές θα ξεκινήσουν από την Δευτέρα 21 Οκτωβρίου 2019.

Wrapping up the pilot period of ‘Monopati’ – The foundations of learning in Velos

The end of September marked the end of the one year pilot period for Monopati project. Even if the pilot period is ending, the foundations set through the project will be sustained and even further developed in our daily Velos activities.

‘Monopati’, meaning ‘footpath’ in Greek, promoted and facilitated engagement and access to formal and informal education for the young people of Velos Youth.

With the young people at its core, the project led to the development of LEAP (Learning and Education Action Plan), an individual education engagement tool used during both 1 to 1 and group discussions to explore present and future learning aspirations. Additionally, the introduction of Learning Support Sessions bridged educational gaps, built confidence & provided support to the young people.

The pilot period of the Monopati project also enhanced our daily activities through the introduction of learning-specific workshops and the development of collaborations and sign postings to language and vocational organisations. 

With the adoption of the new Lamplight case management system and the EPIM project starting next week, the end of the pilot period only means continuation of our activities and a growth of opportunities for the young people of Velos Youth.

Sylvie & Arman join the Velos team!

The Velos team is growing!

Last week, two new volunteers joined us from the UK – Sylvie and Arman! They brought fresh energy in the space and an abundance of new ideas. Sylvie and Arman will be staying until December, organising workshops around photography, entrepreneurship, and global awareness. To follow some of their activities, keep an eye on our social media.

The Velos team is growing this month and what this means for us is more opportunity to development our operations and expand the support we provide to the young people who visit us.

Check out our new Needs List

At Velos our main goal is to be a safe and supportive space for young people in Athens. To help us achieve this, we have created a “Needs List”!

We want our space to always be welcoming, safe and feel like a home away home – simple things like a cup of tea and some fresh fruit can always enhance this.

Fundamental things such as an extra layer of clothing for our young people can also make a big difference in the young peoples daily life, especially with winter coming.

Finally, we hope the young people visiting Velos have multiple opportunities for learning. If you have any old board games or activity materials you no longer want, we are happy to re-home them!

However small or big the donation, we are always grateful for everyones contribution.

Check out our full needs list here

Velos playing football

When it comes to activities and workshop for the young people of Velos, there is nothing better than collaborating with other organisations of Athens! This is exactly what happened on Sunday 15th of September at Aghios Kosmas, where SCI, Greek Forum of Refugees, the Hellenic Red Cross and Velos Youth took part in a football tournament.

The young people split in teams and enjoyed a day of competitive but friendly football. They met new people, re-energised, and practiced a sport everyone loves! Everyone received participation medals in the end, recognising all extraordinary efforts and perfectly rounding up the day.

The tournament was organised by SCI, who did an incredible job in ensuring the smooth and safe running of the event.

Opportunities like these are awesome, as simple things like playing football in a real-sized, grass field should not be taken for granted.

We look forward to participating in more activities like these in the future!

The other guys were better trained, they practice every week together. For us, we were individually good but were not playing as a team. But if we practice and if we get better equipment and shoes, we can be better.” – 17 year old from Afghanistan who participated in the tournament in the Velos Youth team.

New activities with SCI

This week a group of international volunteers from Service Civil International (SCI) delivered a variety of workshops for the young people of Velos Youth.

They did an incredible job! During their art sharing workshop they initiated discussions around music and classical artists. Their story-telling workshop was also great fun. The young people drew variations of each other – a portrait while having their eyes closed, a portrait of the person as their favourite animal, and more. The young people also shared their favourite places in Athens, and drew a picture representing those. We were glad to see the young people working with each other and actively participating in the workshop.

This great partnership will continue until the end of the month. We look forward to seeing what else SCI have planned for us!

Transitioning to Adulthood: a path to autonomy and self-reliance

We have recently received funding from the European Programme for Integration and Migration to continue our work supporting young people as they turn 18 and their legal rights change.

We will test new approaches of access to housing and education and will replicate existing pilots that promote access to employment and psychological care, creating a support which is holistic and individualised.

Additionally, we will advocate to mitigate the challenges that migrant youth face in their transition to adulthood and to mainstream and replicate their holistic approach in order for more youth to reach autonomy and self-reliance in Greece.