Social integration – socialization
A series of activities we are organizing aim to social and cultural integration of refugees and to familiarize them with another culture, with which there are both common and different elements.
Visiting Museums and Galleries
As part of the process of social inclusion and cultural / environmental awareness of the refugees we host at WELCOMMON, we organize visits to museums, art venues, parks and public spaces: Acropolis, National Garden, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Acropolis Museum, Natural History Museum, Archaeological Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Cycladic Art, Pedion Areos Park, Municipal Art Gallery and several painting exhibitions.
During our first visits, we had groups of mostly Syrian children, but now people hosted in Welcommon come from 15-17 countries and speak 11 different languages. The support of the volunteers is very important for such visits. We want to thank the Catalonian volunteers that live in WELCOMMON for the whole summer 2017, helping us in many activities with their positive mood and expertise.
Moreover, recently we visited -once again- the Natural History Museum. Whenever we have gone to this museum, with different groups of children and older ones, everyone is excited about it. We thank Mrs. Siambu for her exciting, informative and loving tour, as well as -again- our volunteers for their valuable help to accompany us on such visits.
Since almost every one of our guests speaks different language, we emphasize in art because it works therapeutically and can unite people. We want refugee children (but also all children) to get familiarized with art in their everyday lives. We put great emphasis both on organized visits to museums and exhibitions, as well as on artistic activities in our own WELCOMMON hosting and integration center, created by “Wind of Renewal” in collaboration with ADDMA and with the support of the UNHCR.
For us the return of a refugee child to a “normal” everyday life goes also from the path of art.
Visiting Athens Observatory
The educational visit to the Observatory, which was attended by over 60 people, began with a walk through the old town under Acropolis and a debate on the concept of democracy. It continued with “climbing” the hill of the Visitors Center, enjoying the sunset from the top of the hill, watching with ecstasy Acropolis emerging illuminated against us and came up with a guide to the world of stars by young scholars of the Center. The dome opened and the telescope turned to the sky to see the new moon and also some stars.
Many of us know that most star and constellation names are Greek, but few know that there are Arab or Persian names of stars. Arab astronomers called Cepheus Al Multahab, the Flaming One. For nomadic cameleers, Al Aghnam was the Sheep. The polar region of the sky was for them a whole lair, with shepherds and sheepdogs. Orion, is Al-Jabar (the Giant) for the Arabs. The brightest star of Orion is Betelgeuse and the brightest star of Leon is Sharru that means king. The alpha Canis Minoris, known as Procyon to the ancient Greeks, is called Al Shira al Shamiyyah by the Arabs, that means “The Brilliant of Syria”. What a surprise for Syrian refugee children to see the bright Al Shira al Shamiyyah, “The Brilliant of Syria”, in the sky of Attica!
Participation of young refugees in an international young people’s meeting on ceramics.
Three young refugees we host at #WELCOMMON (from Syria and Iraq) together with a Brazilian volunteer and social work student at the German University of Darmstand, participated in the international youth meeting, which was recently organized by the “Solidarity Pathways” in Lefkada Greek island on the topic: “Together we play, together we shape the clay”. Youngsters from 6 different countries (but coming from many more different backgrounds and cultures) had the opportunity to get to know each other, to exchange views, to work altogether with clay, to cooperate to build an “eco-friendly clay house” but also to talk about the history of ceramics in different countries. In fact, the soiled clay and its history became the means of social inclusion.