Support and follow a displaced young person’s journey in Athens

At Velos Youth, our mission is to support unaccompanied children and young people who have been displaced to restart and rebuild their lives.

Today there are 5,000 unaccompanied children in Greece. 1,000 are homeless.

Over the next 12 days we will follow the story of 17 year old Haji as he arrives alone in Athens and begins to restart his life.

Like thousands of others, Haji will face serious daily challenges; homelessness, cold winter temperatures, and long asylum processes.

Imagine having to face these struggles in the context of a global pandemic. The current lockdown in Athens has suspended many state and non-governmental supports, leaving people more in need than ever this winter. 

Velos Youth continues to empower unaccompanied children and young people like Haji who have been displaced to restart and rebuild their lives in Athens.

Support Haji, and thousands of others like him, by donating for essential items that will help see through this winter.

Your donations will help Velos Youth continue to distribute material aid weekly throughout winter and make life safer, warmer and brighter for unaccompanied children and young people in Athens.

We understand that these are difficult financial times for everyone. Help us share this campaign and raise awareness of the realities so many displaced youth face in Greece.

Follow and share the campaign on Instagram and Facebook 

Υποστήριξε και παρακολούθησε το ταξίδι ενός εκτοπισμένου νεαρού στην Αθήνα

Στο Velos Youth, η αποστολή μας είναι να υποστηρίζουμε τα ασυνόδευτα παιδιά και τους νέους που έχουν εκτοπιστεί με σκοπό να ξαναξεκινήσουν και ανοικοδομήσουν τη ζωή τους.

Σήμερα υπάρχουν 5.000 ασυνόδευτα παιδιά στην Ελλάδα. 1.000 είναι άστεγοι.

Τις επόμενες 12 ημέρες θα ακολουθήσουμε την ιστορία του 17χρονου Haji, καθώς φτάνει μόνος του στην Αθήνα και αρχίζει να ξαναχτίζει τη ζωή του.

Όπως χιλιάδες άλλοι, ο Haji θα αντιμετωπίσει σοβαρές καθημερινές προκλήσεις. Αστεγία, κρύες χειμερινές θερμοκρασίες και μεγάλες διαδικασίες ασύλου.

Φανταστείτε να αντιμετωπίζετε αυτές τις δυσκολίες στο πλαίσιο μιας παγκόσμιας πανδημίας. Το τρέχον lockdown στην Αθήνα έχει αναστείλει πολλές κρατικές και μη κυβερνητικές υπηρεσίες – η ανάγκη αυτόν τον χειμώνα είναι πιο μεγάλη από ποτέ.

Το Velos Youth συνεχίζει να ενδυναμώνει ασυνόδευτα παιδιά και νέους όπως ο Haji που έχουν εκτοπιστεί για επανεκκίνηση και ανοικοδόμηση της ζωής τους στην Αθήνα.

Υποστηρίξτε τον Haji και χιλιάδες άλλους σαν αυτόν, δωρίζοντας για βασικά αντικείμενα που θα τον βοηθήσουν να περάσει το χειμώνα.

Οι δωρεές σας θα βοηθήσουν το Velos Youth να συνεχίσει να διανέμει υλική βοήθεια εβδομαδιαίως καθ ‘όλη τη διάρκεια του χειμώνα και να κάνει τη ζωή ασφαλέστερη, πιο ζεστή και πιο φωτεινή για τα ασυνόδευτα παιδιά και τους νέους στην Αθήνα.

Κατανοούμε ότι αυτές είναι δύσκολες οικονομικές στιγμές για όλους. Βοηθήστε μας να μοιραστούμε αυτήν την καμπάνια και να ευαισθητοποιήσετε τις πραγματικότητες που αντιμετωπίζουν πολλοί εκτοπισμένοι νέοι στην Ελλάδα.

Ακολουθήστε και μοιραστείτε την καμπάνια στο Instagram και στο Facebook 

A safe space for young people

Covid-19 and all its implications put Velos Youth in a pathway of heightened flexibility and innovation. After many changes (virtual work, a continued appointment system, etc) the Velos team has continued working hard to bring back one of the most crucial elements of our work: providing a safe space for young people. In a month like August, during the crisis of the current pandemic and the situation refugees and migrants are facing in Athens, most of the young people visiting us are experiencing extremely vulnerable circumstances.

With up to 12 young people in the space at each time, our youth centre has returned to being a hub of energy and empowerment. Additionally, the continuous use of masks, frequently sanitising our hands, keeping necessary physical distance when possible, and other precautions make the Velos Youth centre as safe as right now possible. The feelings that come with dancing and singing together, taking part in a ping pong tournament, watching videos on Youtube, hanging around in a space where you know you will be heard and respected, and with talking with a professional who can listen to you and support you; these feelings are irreplaceable, and we hope every young person who visits our space can feel safe.

Although the future is unknown, we are proud and happy to be remaining adaptable and active in order to take advantage of all opportunities that come our way. For now, we are able to provide a safe environment for those visiting us, and an environment filled with opportunity, interaction and energy.

To keep up with our activities, check out our Facebook & Instagram accounts!

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.

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.