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”

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:

Informative leaflets – My Rights! project

Under “My Rights!” project we have created an informative leaflets regarding family reunification procedures in order to inform the young asylum seekers who want to be reunified with their families! You can find all the necessary information on the leaflets. Please, do not hesitate to contact us for further clarifications.

The leaflets are available in English, Arabic, Farsi, French and Urdu.

The project “My Rights!”  is being implemented under the Active citizens fund in Greece by Velos Youth and its partner Equal Rights Beyond Borders. The Active citizens fund in Greece is supported through a €12m grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as part of the EEA Grants 2014 – 2021. The program aims to develop the sustainability and capacity of the civil society sector in Greece, and to strengthen its role in promoting and safeguarding democratic procedures, active citizenship and human rights. The Fund Operator for the Active citizens fund in Greece is Bodossaki Foundation in consortium with SolidarityNow. Read more here: 

Meet our amazing volunteer, Roseanna

Meet Roseanna, our incredible volunteer who has been strongly involved in planning and delivering our “Creative Bloggers” workshops. Here is a little bit about her experience being part of the Velos Youth team!

“I volunteer with Velos Youth once a week to support the “Creative Bloggers” workshop. Together we explore and develop our tools in self expression, and unpack our life experiences. Meeting the young people that come to Velos Youth gives me hope and strength for the future.

They are all so motivated, determined and empowered to reach their dreams and fulfil their goals despite the obstacles and challenges they face. Every session they give me a fresh perspective on the important values in life. What they share reminds me of the importance of respect for other humans regardless of education, status and wealth.

The whole team at Velos creates a warm, safe and welcoming space for everyone and I feel really lucky to be a part of it. I am extremely glad that Velos Youth exists, and know that Velos Youth will never really know just how much it brings to the city and people of Athens.” 

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 

Education in Velos Youth | Learning happens all the time

In Velos Youth we believe that learning happens all the time: socially, interacting on the street, understanding past experiences, inside a classroom, in the work place and in many more situations.

Therefore in our youth centre we try to support young people seeking education from various angles – LEAP (Learning & Education Action Plan) is a tool we use to help with practical self-organisation, Learning Support Sessions help with homework or introductions to a new language and then we also have wider discussions about education and learning.

We know that every young person has experience of learning regardless of the level of their previous formal education, and therefore in Velos Youth we try to break down what is learning? how do we each learn differently? and in what situations are we learning?

These are the conversations leading our Educational Group Discussions. By having these conversations in a group we share our experiences with each other and listen to how others have overcome difficulties. In addition to this, we look at responsibility for learning and try to identify barriers young people face. Education and learning are certainly something that young people can feel they have some control over, and it is an area through which they can escape daily difficulties and instead see themselves progressing and moving forward.

Primarily, we encourage these conversations through practical and motivational support. This is another reason why building on what young people have already achieved and learnt is fundamental. Our aim is through empowerment to increase the feeling of importance and self worth. The discussions and workshops we hold in our youth centre always aim to hold young people and their opinions at their core, and this is especially true for the Educational Group Discussions. One of the toughest skills across the world is listening, which is why these discussions aim to encourage the ideas and stories of the young people so that we can take a step back from teaching, and instead learn from them.

Covid 19 has of course hampered many elements of young people’s lives in Athens, especially those who are living on the streets. Services have been cut and the importance of physical and human connection has been minimised to the detriment of all of us. Educational efforts and progress have of course suffered as well. Online classes and printed material are a good method of support for the current situation, however access to technology or WiFi has caused further challenges. Through online connections, phone calls, and promotion of services and opportunities, the team at Velos Youth are committed to continue supporting young people as best as we can, even at the toughest of times.

Lockdown 2.0 – Moving online

After a few very successful months filled with resilience, creativity, and collaboration, a second lockdown has found our youth centre in November. After a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in Greece, the Greek government announced a nation-wide lockdown from the 7th to the 30th of November.

For this reason, our youth centre must remain closed until the end of the quarantine period.

Nonetheless, our team of social workers, youth workers, cultural mediators and admin staff is still working online! In the next few weeks, we will try our best to reach out to those most affected by this second lockdown, and remain accessible, creative and resilient by working together.

Please share this message and inform any young people aged 16-21 who need support to reach us via email, or through a private message on our social media – Facebook – Instagram

We will keep our social media channels updated with any updates or expansion of our operations.

We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.