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Standing together for a safer place

Working closely with our partner organisations is essential to making
Victoria Community Center a safer place at any level.
Many thanks to all for their commitment to this!

Our work in Victoria Community Center in Athens

Among other things, OHF is responsible for partner coordination at the Victoria Community Center. But what means partner coordination at OHF and why is it one of our core tasks?
We are honoured to collaborate with 8 in-house partners at Victoria Community Center (VCC) and 5 long-term collaborators. Partner coordination for OHF at VCC includes meeting new partners and collaborators, coordinating pilot projects and needs assessments, negotiating MOUs, monthly individual and group partner’s meetings, and ensuring smooth communication and strong collaborations. VCC in-house partners provide access to specialised and good quality services to visitors including, medical, legal, social work, and psychosocial support, educational opportunities and women and children’s spaces. VCC collaborators include our invaluable food partners, partners for community activities and events, and the centre’s GBV focal point.
For OHF, partnerships are at the very heart of our organisational goals to be collaborative, to be responsive, and to provide easy access to good quality support. Partner use of VCC is varied, needs-based, and (recently) dependant on space availability. Partner services at OHF are flexible and operate mostly on a drop-in basis.
“It is such a joy to work with our partners and collaborators! We are grateful to have such great team-work with everyone in the building and it is pure magic to be part of a space where so many people are working together to make this complex and difficult place we call home, Athens, a better place for everyone” Anna, OHF Co-Coordinator.

Feeling safe at OHF

Our Safety&Security Manager makes sure that the whole Victoria Community Center and all the on average 2’500 monthly individuals that go in and out of the door, as well as all partner organisations and team members, are safe.
Especially during the extreme heat in the summer months in Greece, but also the rest of the year, one of the main priorities is Fire Safety. In July, the Victoria CC emergency team had a training to review the emergency procedures, learn about electrical hazards and how to prevent them, and about the use of the different fire extinguishers. After that, we then had a fire drill in order to review all procedures and knowledge. After the sound of the alarm whistle, we managed to evacuate the entire building in 2 minutes. According to our Safety&security Manager, this is not quick enough for a real situation but a good time for a drill. OHF will keep reviewing fire equipment, checking its durability on a regular basis, and following up on further safety procedures to make sure the entire Victoria Community Center is safe. All of this is even more present to us, since the devastating fires in Greece during the last few summers and also this, that burned through thousands of hectares of land leaving entire landmarks in ashes and people loosing their homes and belongings. Climate change and people loosing homes and safety and having to find refuge elsewhere is connected and has to be addressed faster. For a few days now, we have also been preoccupied with the floods, which also affected the road in front of the VCC.

In order to feel safe in a community center, other aspects are also important. That's why we organise regular workshops about different topics for all the people who work or volunteer for the organisations in the VCC. One of the last workshops was about gender equality, conducted by Mike. Mike is from New Zealand and has over 30 years’ experience working in international development with NGOs, social movements, local organisations, government aid agencies, and the UN and Asian Development Bank. Mike was at the Victoria Community Centre for two days helping OHF and partner teams to understand what is meant by gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. And to help us develop our confidence to advocate for gender equality. Gender equality is the principle that all individuals, regardless of their gender, should have equal rights, opportunities, and treatment. It is a fundamental aspect of human rights and social justice.
Promoting gender equality involves creating an inclusive and supportive environment where people of all gender identities can thrive. It means challenging harmful gender norms and stereotypes that limit opportunities and perpetuate discrimination. It also means advocating for policies and practices that ensure equal access to education, employment, healthcare, and decision-making roles, regardless of one's gender. To achieve this goal, we also have a focal point of GBV at the VCC, as mentioned earlier. This runned by our partnerorganisation Diotima and is focusing every Wednesday on addressing and combating gender-based violence through means like group sessions and individual sessions, workshops and creating a safe and supportive space and environment for everyone at our communal spaces. Thank you for your workshops, commitment and your multidimensional approach on addressing, combating and preventing gender-based violence everywhere and also at One Happy Family.
Join us in celebrating and embracing the beauty of everyone's identity and advocating inclusive policies and practices at Victoria CC and everywhere else! Thank you very much for your support!
Content: Anna S.P., Johanna Käser and others
Date: 07.09.23
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