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

Velos Bloggers: ‘What Velos means to me’

Last Tuesday, a group of 6 young people met in Velos Youth centre to participate in the weekly Bloggers workshop. During the workshop they had a vivid discussion on “What Velos Youth means to me”. They came up with the following ideas:

“Velos has given us a great deal of help. People from Velos have found a lawyer for us and before Covid-19 we participated in very interested workshops in the space and during the time we have been coming here, we have met helpful people and we have made new friends”

“Here there are available services like shower, laundry and food, very essential and important for us, especially during the winter months. Distribution of clothes, hygiene stuff and sleeping bags are necessary and valuable during the time that when there was a lot of cold”

The discussion followed on “How you would like to see Velos Youth in the future”

“We would like Velos to organise structured Greek and English lessons here in the centre. Also for those attending school we would like to have some support for classes such as Physics or Chemistry. Computer skills are also very important to learn and necessary for our future”

Because things with housing has become difficult, Velos can increase the places for housing helping more people”.

“The lawyer in the space will be very helpful to direct us as most organisations have a long waiting list. Also because some of us visit a psychologist outside Velos, we would really like the psychologist here because talking with a psychologist can really help us with some situations”.

Because of the difficulties we face when we go to the public services or hospitals, sometimes we feel more secure if somebody from Velos could come with us and help us there.

“For our free time we would like to organise a football team, do trainings on a regular basis and get football equipment like shoes”

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 info@velosyouth.org. 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:

My Lockdown Experience

Things I did when the lockdown started

I was a bad sleeper, I used to go to bed around 5am in the morning and wake up during the day. I changed my sleep schedule because I was Idle at home and not doing much. Βefore the lockdown I used to go to African Clubs and get fun but when the lockdown came in effect everything was closed I was not staying up late at night. Having a change in my sleep schedule has been beneficial to me, I feel healthy, energized all day long now. I go to bed now at 12am and wake up at 8am/9am most days.

Activities I did to kill time in the Lockdown

I started doing some exercises, running in the park, listening to podcasts, check out this podcast I listened to. This podcast is about the controversies around the Covid-19 vaccines.

I also try to do some painting during this time. It was a fun thing to do with my flat mates.

This blog was written by a young person attending the Creative Bloggers and Blog Workshops ran in Velos Youth, as part of the Young People’s Blog.

Things are moving for the “Creative Bloggers”

On Wednesday 21st of October the group began a new circle of discussions.

“What does Education mean to us?”

We started to explore the different views, ideas and notions that each of us can give to “Education”.

A lot of different aspects of the term were given and the things that we discussed ranged from practical education to more theoretical approaches and from formal education to life experiences from our upbringing. All of the young people, underlined the importance of  showing respect to everyone regardless of their educational level. 

Discussions continued this week. The Velos Youth team and the group will be ready for more heated discussions, always keeping all necessary pre-cautions.

Athens Collective of Superheros

Athens 2020. Covid-19 has descended upon the city. Numbers of confirmed cases rise daily. 

War, poverty and oppressive governments mean thousands of people from other lands come to the city of Athens in search of safety. Instead they face homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, job scarcity, long difficult processes to get documents, hot and humid weather, poor access to health services, theft. 

The buildings of Athens drip water from air conditioners. The streets are narrow and difficult for people who can’t walk. Parts of the city look dirty and smell bad. Loud aggressive traffic fills the air. 

And yet! Athens is a city of hope! Everyday people become heroes as they try to help each other. 

Doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, rubbish collectors, traffic wardens, teachers, volunteers, and police offer solidarity in Athens. 

But they can’t do it alone, they need help!

They need a collective of superheroes to aid them. Over the last four weeks this band of superheroes has come to the rescue! 


Name Peace Man

Powers

  • He looks like a big man. He wears a white and green suit with a peace sign on the back and front of his suit.
  • He has the superpower to stop war.
  • He can show people the positive and negative results from their current actions.
  • He can teach people how their life can be beautiful and peaceful and how they can live their lives honestly and peacefully with love for one another and for God.

Background

He was born in a poor country where there is always violence, war, corruption, rape and terror. It’s a place where rich people abuse poor people so his life was very difficult from childhood. He always hoped and prayed to God to have superpowers. He wished he could teach people how to change their world. He could stop war. One day he woke up in the morning and he discovered he is stronger and bigger than before and he got the superpower that he wanted.


Name Athens Man |  Height 7 ft | Origin Syria

Powers 

  • Hear people’s thoughts 
  • Manipulate the minds of people to do good and be positive 
  • Strong muscles 
  • Can fly 
  • Punish bad people (e.g. take them to the police)
  • Magical coat 
  • Have long range of smell
  • Emergency response (e.g. fire department, hospital, covid-19)

Background

He is from Syria, he came to Athens to help the city as a payback for what the city have done for his people. He noticed this ability after the war started. Athens Man can help the everyday heroes to make the city of Athens to be a better place. 


Name Athina | Origin Greece, Ancient Athens

Powers

  • Athina is good at war and gives heroes courage. Her special powers included the ability to invent useful items and crafts.

Background

She also invented many of the skills used by women in ancient Greece such as weaving and pottery. Athina is often depicted in art with armour and she is associated with the olive tree and owl, symbols of wisdom


Name SuperVelos | Origin Outer space.

Powers

  • SuperVelos can hear, feel and find everyone that needs help. When they find the people that need help they use their superpower of flying to help them reach assistance and safety.
  • SuperVelos helps people reach the hospitals and emergency services when the ambulances can’t because of traffic.
  • SuperVelos can also help people reach appointments on time, and being able to understand and speak in all languages known on earth means he can help translate and ensure people’s voices are heard when they meet with asylum protection services.

Background

When SuperVelos heard the need of the people in Athens they flew directly to earth to assist.


All images/art belong to the young people participating in the Creative Bloggers workshop.

This blog post was written by the young people visiting the Velos Youth centre who participated in the Creative Bloggers workshop. Read more on our Young People’s Blog.

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.