Throughout the winter in 2016 I took my socially engaged practice to Katsikas refugee camp and collaborated with Syrian, Afghan and Kurdish refugees and local Greek people in Epirus to build creative communities and build a creative engagement program. Under the banner of Engagement manager for Lighthouse Relief (and in collaboration with other volunteers and the communities themselves) I established and ran a creative learning centre and engagement program to cater for all demographics in the camp, but especially for single mothers. I also organised exhibitions and cultural events that made the creative talents of the residents more visible and promoted integration by making valuable links between the camp residents, the neighbouring city and the University of Ioannina.
During the summer of 2016 I volunteered with 9 other teachers and youth workers to create a educational program in a closed UNHCR run camp for Yazidi communities. In addition to offering basic English skills help (as requested by the community) I worked with a group of seamstresses and we collaborated to create textile printing and clothes making workshops for the whole community.
All of my work in the camps was self funded, self motivated and self generated. Much of the work on the ground is extremely grassroots and there is still a desperate need for a wider and more orchestrated acknowledgement of and active enablement of helping these communities and individuals achieve the positive, peaceful futures that they have struggled so hard and so deservingly for.
More about these experiences are detailed on my blogs: