VICTORIA COMMUNITY CENTRE
Victoria Communiy Centre is open
At the end of February OHF bid farewell to the community centre on Lesvos. And now, on the 4th of April, we as OHF and Drop In The Ocean (Dråpen i Havet) were happy to announce the official opening of the Victoria Community Centre that we run together with partners by organising a welcome event. We have already opened our doors to visitors one week before this event and were delighted to welcome and serve them with freshly squeezed juice, tea, coffee and biscuits. Adults were happy to start English, Greek and computer lessons with Drop in the Ocean. More activities are to be introduced. The 4th of April was a marvellous day as we drank, snacked and danced to beautiful beginnings of a journey in Athens. Watch this video from that day. We believe the activities we offer are important and will benefit the community in Athens. At the moment the numbers of visitors are still quite low, but we hope that after Ramadan more people will come and visit us. We already have some regulars who visit our café regularly after their classes and enjoy the place. More and more people are coming into the centre, Glocal roots is designing the women’s space and already has some children’s activities. A central information point is also being set up again and will soon be ready for use. And now we also have a wonderful flyer that we can distribute and hang up everywhere to make people aware of our centre and invite them to visit us. If you are in Athens: visit us at Filis 68 near Victoria square, bring your friends! If you are not in Athens but you would like to become part of OHF Athens: As you already know, we are always happy to receive donations. Donate here with the remark “Victoria Community Center”, so that it can benefit the new centre. Thank you!
Our “Google working space number two” (because number one was on Lesvos) is now open. After 2 months of moving, cleaning, organising, painting and beautifying the place, we are happy to introduce different activities that we offer/or we will offer in the new Victoria Community Center. On the pictures below you see our common working space. This room will be used by all NGO workers, especially those working with asylum seekers and refugees to hold team meetings, training and do office work. The office layout has a cosy and good working environment with all office materials such as a printer, good Wi-Fi connection, comfortable offices chairs & tables and stationery in place. It is important to work in a quiet space in order to be productive and make strategic decisions for the success of the work we do. We purchase office material such as toner cartridges, printing paper, laminating sheets and pay for Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi, charching station and bookshelves
Most of the refugee community in Athens still lives in dire conditions, or struggle because they are jobless but have to make ends meet. Some are homeless, so Victoria Community Center provides a dignified temporary space for them during the day.
We offer Wi-Fi, charging stations and book stations to keep them company during their visit in the Community Center. Everyone can power up their phones, use free Wi-Fi to contact their loved ones back home and browse the internet in search of jobs. On Lesvos we had a vintage van that was turned into a library, here in Athens we have bookshelves in different floors of the building. So everyone can come by, grab a book and sit wherever they like and read – for leisure or to improve their language skills.
We continue offering coffee, tea, freshly squeezed juice and biscuits in the Victoria Community Center. It is our duty to make our visitors feel at home. And – wait for it – our drachma system is back! One of our visitors said: “I remember this ticket when I was staying in Moria, on Lesvos. I love juice and I am happy to get it for free here, thank you very much my friend!” We feel useful, when we hear those words of gratitude and it makes us realize that not everyone can afford a cup of juice yet Vitamin C is important for the body. The kid’s popular orders of the day are biscuits and juice, remember that anything sweet is the little one’s favourite. Adults also like coffee and tea. We are happy to see new faces day by day and we hope to fill the café more and more when the rest of the partnerorganisations start offering more services to the community in our Community Center. If you want to help us treat our visitors well by donating towards our cafe expenses shown on the table below. To support X number of people/month with the specified cafe products, please donate the amount highlighted in bold (at the bottom of the table).
FREE SHOP LESVOS
In April, the free shop was also very quiet due to Ramadan and the Greek holidays. To celebrate the end of Ramadan next week, 200 bags of dates have already been packed to be distributed. Rice has also been packed as another food delivery has just arrived. This work is always best done with loud music in our container. Recently, we have also started to offer some products from the Sporos garden, which is practically next to our shop. From there we get from time to time dried herbs like sage, rosemary or lavender as well as coriander seeds, but also fresh lettuce, beetroot or mustard leaves, depending on what can be harvested at the time. At the moment we are still testing how popular these products are, so that we can add them to our range if necessary. Oil would actually be the most popular product with our customers, but unfortunately we cannot offer it anymore because the price of a litre of oil has more than doubled in the last few weeks, and it is no longer within our limited budget. This week, summer has arrived on Lesvos and people are already looking for a shady spot in the afternoon, so sunscreen is becoming a popular product again.
Unfortunately, we also had to say goodbye to two team members in April. Falak, one of our long-time volunteers, has left the island, and Yusuf has also decided to leave our team. However, we are very happy to introduce a small and very sweet new team member: puppy Coco!In order to be able to continue the free shop and to ensure that our customers do not have to do without products due to price increases, we are very grateful for your help in the form of donations with the note: “Free shop”. Thank you very much for your support!