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One Happy Family


February 2023

Dear OHF Supporters

One Happy Family (OHF) in Athens has had a successful start to 2023 and through the great work of our local team, the Victoria Centre continues to be a place of sharing and learning.
Unfortunately, there were technical problems with the last newsletter, which meant that many of you did not receive it at all, received it later or received it twice. We would like to sincerely apologise for this! And we very much hope that this newsletter will reach all our supporters again. If it doesn’t reach you by E-mail, we kindly ask you to subscribe again via our website.
Before we introduce you in this update to four people who are all contributing to making OHF the place it is, here again a brief summary of the exciting and eventful year 2022, which saw some changes for OHF.
In March, we said goodbye to Lesvos to address the growing need in mainland Greece. We moved to Athens and opened our doors at the Victoria Community Centre together with 8 other partner organisations.
In May, a very special moment occurred. The whole Coordination Team and Board met all together in Athens to work on OHF key values and structure development in our new environment!
In July we handed over our Free Shop on Lesvos to the NGO Leave No One Behind to be able to focus on our projects in Athens.
In November, we already had registered 13,174 visitors to the centre and to our partner organisations since the opening of the centre in Athens.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the project in 2022 on the ground, but also want to thank all of you who have continued to support us!
Your support and donations are also very important for us in the new year, and will allow us to continue to provide support, recreation and activities to the visitors of the Victoria Community Centre!
We also receive great support on the ground in Athens from all over the world:
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Meet Mohsen!
Mohsen is a member of our community volunteer team, and we’re so pleased to have his positive attitude and plethora of skills. You can usually find Mohsen culturally mediating in the Café or at the Welcome desk! He speaks English, Greek and Arabic, is an experienced interpreter and uses his impressive linguistic skills to assist those in need of support. Zeynep, our coordinator, said ‘Mohsen brings a lot of positive ideas to the team, he is proactive and constructive but maintains a calm and peaceful demeanour’.

Meet Siri!
Originally from Norway, Siri has a background working with social policy and Human Rights law in the European Commission and the Council of Europe, and we had the absolute pleasure of working with Siri for 3 weeks at the end of last year and she will return in April. Siri said: “I have always worked in an office, and I therefore very much enjoyed meeting children and adults in the Café of OHF. I believe it is a much needed space where displaced people can hang out, read, talk, play and meet other people facing similar challenges. Everybody deserves a chance and should be treated with dignity and respect. I think OHF plays an important role in this regard.”

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Hossin’s art class!
Hossin has begun teaching painting classes to the visitors in our Café! Learning to paint in Iran almost 32 years ago, Hossin was a visitor at the centre and through watching others create, decided he would like to dedicate some of his time to teaching some classes! His classes run 3 times a week and we look forward to all the new works of art that will be created during this time.

Meet Bairbre!
Bairbre also joined us for 3 weeks at the end of 2022 and will be back at the end of March. A journalist and radio documentary maker from Ireland, Bairbre always brought laughter and energy to OHF, helped out in the Café and with the children's activities.
Bairbre was able to bring her experience and talents to OHF in other ways too, helping to make audio recordings and teaching others how to do them for future purposes. When asked to comment, she said:
‘I work as a journalist, covering mainly migration stories and am increasingly worried about what’s going on at our borders, and how people are treated when they engage with asylum services.
EU policies designed to punish and criminalise people seeking refuge are causing immense suffering and pain. People aren’t seen as people - human beings - in these border systems.
I’d heard a lot of good things from people who used to study at the school at OHF and go to their Café on Lesvos.
After several weeks volunteering at their new centre in Athens I saw that OHF continues on this supportive and welcoming ethos. If you can, do think about volunteering or donating in solidarity - whatever your skills and talents - you can do something.’

Thank you very much Mohsen, Siri, Hossin and Bairbre for your skills and presence, your work is incredibly valuable and it is a pleasure to have you at OHF!
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who helped bring the new project in Athens to life, especially our wonderful coordination team on the ground. It wasn't all easy, but we made it happen and are looking forward to everything that is to come this year!

Your One Happy Family Team

Content: Catherine Mosley, Johanna Käser
Date: 05.02.23
One Happy Family | www.ohf.gr | info@ohf-lesvos.org | @ohflesvos
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