We are delighted to welcome our guest blogger Julia: a long-term volunteer with Action for Education on Chios. Julia provides a brief visual update of the post-lockdown situation, on Chios, at one of the education centres that we are delighted to support.
The first half of 2020 has certainly not been what a lot of us were expecting. One thing that we can all be sure of is that it is a lot more pleasant to be locked down in the comfort of your own home as opposed to in an overcrowded refugee camp on Greece’s Aegean Island. This is why the opening of our new education centre, Mastic Campus, could not have come at a better time. Covid-19 has led to significant delays in the opening of our new centre in Chios. However, after many months of building, painting and cleaning, our dedicated and hardworking team of volunteers have converted an old warehouse into a welcoming education centre.
On July 6th, 2020, we opened our doors to young people aged 18-23 living in the Vial Refugee Camp. The lack of sanitation and overcrowded living conditions in Vial means the services we provide are needed now more than ever. At Mastic Campus, all students have access to the centre three days a week. They attend compulsory English lessons, provided by our wonderful team of international and community volunteers, who have been trained in teaching and youth work. Students also have the option to take part in workshops to learn new skills. Furthermore, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces to relax, as well as shower facilities, Wi-Fi, a computer lab, a tailor shop, and a Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic. Due to the ever-present threat of Covid-19, we are following all government guidelines and are currently running at a reduced capacity, practising social distancing, and following a thorough cleaning procedure.
The Zoe Trust has been supporting our work at Action for Education since early 2018. “It’s thanks to the fantastic ongoing help of Tanya, Emily and everyone at the Zoe Trust that we are able to keep developing and improving the level of support we offer here in Greece,” says Jacob Warn, director and co-founder of AFE. “With an initial contribution from the Zoe Trust, we opened our first-ever Computer Lab on Samos. Since then, Tanya has continued to provide constant strategic support to our work. Meanwhile, Emily has helped develop our educational and outreach programming, informing our activities both in Greece and back in the UK. This continuing support has also enabled us to open a second Computer Lab on Chios, and get back up and running quickly following Covid-19. We are hugely grateful for the whole community of trustees, supporters and donors who enable this to happen!”