European Voluntary Service
At the beginning the volunteers are introduced to the aims and activities of SCI-Hellas, and to the life in Athens.
During winter – spring period they are in charge, together with other volunteers, of contacting local organizations working with youth with fewer social and economic opportunities, with the aim of creating a group of young people interested in participating to workcamps and youth exchanges. They promote the activities, projects and ideas of SCI in different ways – depending on the iniciative of the volunteers.
In late spring the volunteers are actively involved in the preparation of the summer workcamps. This includes: participation to the preparation meetings, participation in the training for workcamp’s coordinators, spreading information about SCI-Hellas workcamps, managing the contact with the future participants, organizing the content and activities of the workcamps with local volunteers and managing the contact with the organizers of the workcamps.
In the summer period the volunteers participate in workcamps organized by SCI-Hellas in Greece. They are the workcamp’s coordinators together with other experienced volunteer. By participating in the workcamps, the volunteers acquire knowledge and skills about group dynamics and methods of non-formal education, also regarding conflict resolution and multicultural contexts. Possibly the volunteers can be also involved in organising youth exchanges and/or seminars and training courses.
During Autumn the volunteers carry out the evaluation of the workcamps in Greece and prepare the final reports with the support and supervision of SCI-Hellas members. They manage the local evaluation meetings with the Greek participants who went abroad. They also participate in open to public activities for the promotion of volunteering and the opportunities the young people have to participate in different activities in the framework of Youth in Action programme.
They also have the chance, during all the project, to plan and implement their own activity or project according to their skills and learning needs, within the aims and fieldwork of SCI-Hellas. They receive support and supervision to develop this task. There is the possibility to work also on new training materials or improve the old ones that SCI-Hellas has developed in the field of Human Rights Education.
Generally we try to separate the tasks of the EVS volunteers in following categories so each volunteer that we will host is be more focused (in the phase A and C) on one or two of the following tasks:
- public relations and promotion (newsletter, webpage, facebook, twitter, youtube, posters, leaflets,...)
- workcamp administration (incoming and outgoing placement + promotion)
- local activities (bringing ideas and organising small local events + promotion – eg. wolrd cafe)
- educational activities (bringing ideas and organising small educational sessions in schools, with children or migrants, use of games, etc.)
Greek Forum for Refugees
Greek Forum of Refugees (GFR) is a network of refugees, asylum seekers, their legal entities and Greek citizens. It operates informally since the spring of 2010, and from 2012 as legal entity recognized by the Greek law. It is governed by a nine members Board, which has as members people coming from Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq (Kurdistan), Somalia, Iran, Kenya and Greece.
GFR's objective is to set up a network of persons both physical and legal on national level, who develop supportive activities for people protected by the Geneva Convention (refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons).
The Greek Forum of Refugees aims to be a network of associations of refugees and asylum seekers who live in Greece and do whatever is possible to improve the living conditions of their target group. It develops raise awareness campaigns at national and European level participating in European networks and forums, creating printed and electronic information means. An important element of this effort is to develop collaboration with people outside the target group who in their own way will be able to promote the respect for Human Rights, eradicate xenophobia and promote the equal participation of all the inhabitants. All these actions are mainly based on voluntary participation and selfless.
More information about GFR can be found here: http://refugeegr.blogspot.gr/
Volunteers collaborate with members, volunteers and employees of the GFR for the implementation of the action plan of the organization and more specifically would split their time on the following activities:
- Creating and updating the website and social media organization: volunteers will be engaged on updating the internet media of GFR (webpage, facebook, twitter and youtube accounts and pages).
- Create and send 15day electronic newsletter in which will be published news on the activities of GFR and its members as well as news on the policy for asylum seekers and refugees in Greece and the EU
- Liaison with other legal entities to explore the possibility of cooperation
- Open and awareness-raising events with emphasis on youth and women.
- Create information center
- Promote the idea of international volunteering, presenting the program "Erasmus +” to young members and supporters of GFR giving priority to women as well as design and implement his/her personal project
TRAG (The Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece)
TRAG is a nongovernmental, non for profit organization offering alternative ways of rehabilitation. It is focused on health and life quality improvement of people with physical, mental or sentimental disabilities. It was established in 1992 as an association. It is governed by a 7member Board. There are 7 people employed and about 40 people volunteering. There are 140 therapies taking place every week and owns 11horses. It is hosted in an area by Katechaki Str. that is leased by the Ministry of Defense with a symbolic rent. It has permanent cooperation with Chatzykiriakeio, ELEPAP, the High School of Ilioupoli and shelters where people with psychological disorders are hosted one like “Thetis”. It is a member of the International Therapeutic Riding Organization. More information about TRAG on the webpage: http://www.trag.gr/
The project of Therapeutic Horse Riding takes place at the Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece which is situated in Athens, near Katexaki metro station and the metropolitan park of Goudi. The infrastructure of the association includes stables for the horses, training court, room for educational and leisure activities, a big yard, the administration office and a waiting room which is used by the volunteers as resting room between the therapeutic sessions.
Therapeutic riding is an alternative rehabilitation programme, where the horse is the therapeutic medium; it improves the overall health and quality of life of people with physical, mental, or emotional disorders or disabilities. The horse becomes an extension of their own body; it helps them venture into new experiences and discover unprecedented feelings: the pleasure of a ride or the thrill of a walk in the countryside, or, mainly, that precious sense of movement and personal independence. The walk of a horse is similar to the human gait; therefore, it transmits to the rider's body that same movement which legs produce in people with no disabilities. In this way, the torso muscles of people with mobility problems are strengthened significantly; at the same time, sitting in that particular upright posture promotes good respiration. Therapeutic riding is a unique experience for people with handicaps, who never thought that they could ride; it differs from traditional treatments of gyms, physical therapy, and hydrotherapy. All the above mentioned are provided by TRAG in children and adolescents who are coming mainly from low and middle socio-economic strata and because of the voluntary character of the association benefit of an accurate treatment by paying much less. In TRAG there are a lot of local volunteers who offer their services with whom the EVS volunteers are in contact and most of the times they become friends. This is very helpful for both because they exchange their living ways and habits and learn the one from the other.
Tasks for the volunteer
The volunteers work supportively to workers of the Centre and participate in various activities related to the therapeutic process and care of horses. This implies horse grooming, preparation of the horses for riding, lunging and therapeutic lessons, watering the horses, assisting the therapeutic trainers during the lessons with disabled people (horse leading, sidewalking, etc.), and daily cleaning of the Riding Centre area.
Volunteers are employed at the centre five days a week six hours a day in average divided into morning and afternoon. The volunteers are trained as Assistants so that they have their own special people to help while riding the horse. They are trained on how to react towards the horses, what are the horses' needs, how to take care of them. In addition they learn how to help and support the disable people that are visiting the centre, some more specific clues for every different isue that Therapeutic Horse Back Riding can relief. They can also organize entertaining activities for the children who are waiting for their lesson, and create advertising material/organize promotional events for the center. The specific tasks where the volunteers are involved will depend on their own interests and skills. Of course volunteers are all the time under the supervision of the couch or the therapeutic trainer.
The daily schedule includes the following tasks:
- Preparation of horses for the sessions
- Preparation of horses for the stable
- Feeding and watering horses
- Ropeleading of horses
- Side escorts during the session
- Arrange the horse riding material before and after the sessions
- Cleaning of the center’s areas
The above are daily work. Volunteers have the opportunity to develop other activities according to their interests and/or the opportunities they have such as:
- Occupation of the children, during the hours of waiting for the session
- Participation in organisation of events that TRAG organises on a permanent basis as bazaars, shows, games, volunteers’ parties
- Promotion of the idea of volunteering in the community from which that dozens of volunteers emerge each year.