My first work experience!

On May 20th 2021, I was so lucky to work in one of the biggest hotels in Greece and one of the best ones in Athens.

One fateful afternoon my phone rang and when I answered the call, it was my case worker from HR360, who told me: “I have a job vacancy for you to work in a hotel in Athens. You can send me your CV and one photo in order to send it to the hotel”. After this conversation, they called me to have an interview, but frankly speaking I was so excited and worried at the same time as it was my first job and I didn’t have any experience. I was stressed for the outcome, but luckily the answer was positive and I started to work there.

In the beginning everything was strange and stressful for me, but the people were so professional that they understood it was my first job and so they trained me. After some weeks, I learnt my tasks and the responsibilities, how to handle pressure, how to cope with stress and time management. Within a month I became so good that the management called me to compliment me. During my time in the hotel I gained a lot of experience, I met different people from different cultures, different states and countries. Working at that particular hotel boost my confidence and self-belief.

Now, I feel I can endure any pressure or bullying and I can be anything that I can image. I can describe my time at the hotel as very busy, fun and the most important, I felt equal! The policy of the hotel is built on equality and I really felt it.

Mahmoud 20 y.o

My first job in Greece!

On June 7, 2021 I started working in one of the best hotels in Attika. During the first month of my work there it was not easy because I had a lot of thing to learn and everything was overwhelming for me.

HR360 applied for me in the hotel and Velos Youth supported me to have most of the documents I needed in order to be qualified to work in Greece. Some of the needed documents were the criminal record and medical certificates.

Before this job, I had the opportunity to go to Thessaloniki to work in another hotel. I personally applied for this job. This is when I knew that Velos Youth wanted me to succeed because they put all their efforts in ensuring I have everything I need to get this job, but it was unfortunate that I didn’t get this job. After that, the opportunity for the hotel I am currently working, came.

All thanks to Velos Youth and HR360 for giving me the courage to move on and I see that I am becoming a better person everyday!

Y. 19 year old

Velos Bloggers: ‘What education means to me’

In the continuation of the “Bloggers workshops”, the young persons discussed and shared ideas upon important issues that affect their lives, such as education. After having a fruitful discussion, Bernard, 20 years old, shared:

“In my view, I think that education is important to human beings because it starts from an early age and more specifically from when we are children at home. Personally I have, also, been receiving education through church and finally school is an important institution for education.

In school we learn how we many behave with our fellow students, or at work in the future and, generally, in society. We don’t just learn how to become an engineer or a doctor. We learn new skills and we take experience. However, the behavior that we show to each other (husband to wife, parents to children, neighbor to neighbor) is still an important part of education and something very basic to how society works.

I remember back in my country that my father used to tell me: “You go to school not for just showing up, but for learning how to become a good person”. Now I realise that my father was my first teacher, all the time, so I really believe that education begins from home and affects all society”.

Open call for Advisors

Velos Youth is, for the first time, building an Advisory Board to support broadly it’s operations. A diverse and inclusive board sought, and so applications from those under the age of 25 and/or those who have experienced similar journeys to the young people we work with are particularly welcome. Experience of working in the humanitarian and NGO fields and/or with small to medium sized organisations will be a significant advantage. It is preferred that individuals who apply are located in, or close to, Greece.

To Apply, interested applicants should submit either a brief cover letter (max. 2 pages) or short video (max. 3 minutes), and a CV to Applicants should include within this a short plan on the steps they would take to ensure Velos Youth benefits from their specific skills and experiences. ‘Advisory Board Application’ should be written in the subject line.

For more information:

“Creative Bloggers” keep creating…!

During the last two “Creative Bloggers” workshops, we discussed about the positive and negative aspects of living in Athens. Because Athens is a metropolis and still has no super-hero, the young people participating in the workshop started creating one who will protect the city and its population.

If you want to see what the super-hero will look like, watch this space or even be a part of the process. We meet every Wednesday at 12.00!! Get in touch to book an appointment.

Read the blogs published by the Creative Bloggers group here.

Preparations for Covid-19 with MSF

Two weeks ago the Velos Youth team engaged in a discussion facilitated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Covid-19 where we learnt useful information about the virus and had multiple of our questions and concerns answered.

Additionally, a detailed discussions and consultation with the MSF team around personalised recommendations have helped us make our space and activities safer for us and the young people visiting us. 

This collaboration was part of MSF’s efforts to collate important information shared by the World Health Organisation and other credible sources around protection from Covid-19 and share it with organisations around Athens like Velos Youth.

We would like to thank MSF for this initiative and collaboration as their support has given us the confidence we needed to continue expanding our operations, slowly return to our “normality”, and safely support the young people who seek us.

We are open!

The team at Velos Youth are happy to inform you that after two months of closure, we reopened our space on an appointment basis!

From the 18th of May, we opened our space to young people aged 16-21 to use our shower, do their laundry, and/or have a 1-1 with our social workers. These services are three of our most needed services and already in these two weeks we have been visited 52 times.

We hope to continue expanding our activities as we receive confirmation from credible sources that it is safe to do so.

If you know young people aged 16-21 who are homeless/ in need of any of these services, please contact our social workers via phone to book an appointment for the young person.

Three Years of Velos Youth

Three years ago today – on the 1st of June 2017 – Velos Youth opened its doors and welcomed the first people in what is until today a safe hub for young refugees and migrants in Athens.

From Day 1, our mission has been to provide safe spaces for displaced unaccompanied children and young people on the move. Three years later we have been visited by 1,274 young people over 18,000 times, each of whom could make Velos Youth their home.

“I’m happy to see my family, Velos is like my family”

17 year old from Afghanistan

Despite many the obstacles that have challenged us, our space remains open and safe for all those who need. Today, at a time of great uncertainty, we are determined to continue supporting the young people who depend on us, safely and innovatively.

“I come here because I relax from the stress I feel outside.”

– 16 year old from Pakistan

“Velos is a space where we have fun, we laugh, we make friends. It is a home, and a place filled with love and care.”

– 20 year old from Iran

Velos Youth is learning through activities and workshops, but also teaching others.

Velos Youth is being guided through difficulties to get where you want to be.

Velos Youth is feeling safe.

Velos Youth goes online

After a ministry announcement, Velos was forced to close the youth center on the 12th of March due to the threat of Covid-19. Despite the fact that this decision disrupted the daily activities, schedule and routine of both Velos Youth and the young people coming to Velos, it was a necessary measure to ensure the safety, health and well-being of all involved. Despite our closure, we are committed in continuing to provide support to all young people who seek it.

On the last day prior to this closure, we informed the young people about the circumstances, gave out maps of organisations giving food on a daily basis, and shared four different channels through which they could get in touch with us if they wanted support – Phone, WhatsApp, Facebook & Instagram.

Since then, our team has continued working online from the beginning of the lockdown until the 6th of April, when we decided to put half the team on furlough due to the decrease in workload. This way we were also able to use the support offered by government’s {Greece/UK}, saving money that can be used for future and emerging needs.

For the remainder of our closure, the other half of the team remains virtually active! Our social worker and cultural mediator have been contacting the young people via WhatsApp and having 1-1 conversations, as the need to support the young people who are between the ages of 16-21 still remains. A number of them do not have a stable and secure place to stay and are struggling to meet their basic needs, such as food and showers. We are able to direct them to these services by remaining up to date on what is open and what has closed or changed service delivery.

We also remain active on our social media, answering the young people who contact us and collaborating with the social worker to schedule a 1-1 with each young person when needed. Further, after communicating with the young people we became aware of the boredom and lack of motivation many of them are experiencing. We therefore created a private Facebook group (aka #VelosCity) for the young people to connect with each other and share their ideas and thoughts. In this group, we share fun activities and information about learning languages (Greek and English) and games around arts, music, geography, and more. Although it is a difficult period for all of us, we continue to encourage young people to use this time productively where possible.

Finally, the “Transitioning to Adulthood” project continues through our continued communication and collaboration with our partners, Human Rights 360 and Babel DC. Via virtual meetings we continue discussing certain parameters of the project and seeing how we can sustain working together to support the young people in this situation and through this project. Apart from these meetings, our social worker is in frequent contact with professionals in HR360 and Babel DC, regarding the well-being of the young people who have been included in the project so far.