Culture Without Borders

The Project

Polikastro Cultural Center

The Polikastro Cultural center project was born in February 2017 to offer educational and cultural support as well as the integration of refugees in Greece. Refugees are relocated from camps to houses and apartments through integrating projects which facilitate the integration an improvement for the local Greek economy.

Currently, the objective of OCC is to focus educational support in urban areas rather than in camps in order to facilitate the integration of refugees and collaborate with the withdrawal of camps where possible.

Over 200 hundred refugees live in Polikastro and the number is rising.

From OCC, the objectives of the project are:

  • Provide support in public Greek schools, building bridges between refugees families and stuff in Greek schools. Providing help in the enrollment of children in schools and advocate for their enrollment. Help monitor the assistance of children in schools.
  • Complement the curriculum of schools through support in homework and strengthen the areas in which the refugee may need be it math, English, Greek, etc.
  • Offer a non-official school for children that are not enrolled in Greek schools.
  • Provide early age development activities.
  • Carry out cultural, social and recreational activities for all ages.
  • Give vocational formation to adults and facilitate their professional and academic integration.

 

Polikastro Town

Polykastro is a town and belongs to Kilkis regional unit of Central Greece.  Its around 14 kilometres away from Macedonian border and 50 kilometres from Thesaloniki. It is a typical Greek town, meaning great food and friendly people. It’s hot and humid during the summer and brutally cold in the winter

  • Population: 7.065
  • Area: 45.8
  • Coordinates: 41°00′N 22°34′E

 

Nea Kavala Camp:

Nea kavala Refugee camp was open in 2016 and its full capacity is 1000 people, currently more than 400 refugees from more than ten different nationalities are living there. Every week people from the Islands are being moved to this camp, so its population is not really balance and most of the people living there are single man and woman, just a few families still living in the camp.

It is located 5 kilometers away from Polikastro, and many people from the camp is attending to our lessons and activities.

Every day we do some rides to transfer the people and covering this need.

 

 

 

What Voluntees do?

Volunteer Roles

OCC undertakes non formal education inclusion and cultural activities, so we are mainly looking for people with teaching experience with both children and adults. Besides, we have other positions to cover such as Arabic translator, Greek translator, drivers, logistical staff, animators and people with management experience. Here you can check the specific vacancies:

  • German Teacher
  • Nursery Teacher
  • Primary Teacher
  • English Teacher
  • Arabic teacher
  • Interpreters and translators ( Arabic and Greek)
  • Drivers, logistic and repairs
  • Women´s Activities leader (Lead yoga, meditation, fitness, arts and crafts, beauty events, dancing gatherings, football practices, etc.)
  • Sports Trainer (Yoga, football, running, basket)
  • Social worker
  • Cultural animator

 

Schedule

The Cultural Center opens at 09:30 and the first van ride to drive people to the center is at 10:30.

We recommend all team members to wake up at the same time, so they can help each other with the tasks.

All the volunteers should be available from 9.30 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 20:00 from Monday to Friday. On Saturday we have the team meeting in the morning and the Community day and woman space in the afternoon; we start the day at 11:30am.

We are active six days per week, taking Sunday off as a rest day. We must remain flexible in the schedule, as it changes regularly due to the unbalance situation, Greek school hours, volunteer turnover, attendance, etc.

We expect our volunteers to be mature, independent, committed and willing to work long hours when necessary.

Also one Sunday a month we do an teamworking activity, so It would be nice if you join us.

 

 

Expectations and Preparation

Volunteering

Open Cultural Center is a small grassroots organization based in volunteering. Team members are exepcted to be financially self-sufficient. Volunteering experie is not required but highly preferred.

 

Age Limit

Volunteers should be above 23 years old. We are willing to make exceptions on the age if good fit for the team.

 

Security Checks

Proof of criminal clearance is required due to the sensitive nature of refugee work. This will vary from country to country, please see the FAQ document for country specific information on obtaining this clearance.

 

Fundraising

Fundraising is strongly encouraged, organising personal fundraisers reaches new communities who may not donate otherwise. Donors are often times more likely to donate if they know the funds are in the hands of someone they know. This also gives you more freedom to support specific needs while in Greece.

We also have a platform where you and your contacts are invited to sign in as a member and supporting the project with 1€ per month, please join us to share this platform:

Join Teaming

 

 

 

Transport and Practical Arrangements

Flights and Buses:

Polikastro is located in Northern Greece, just 15 kilometers from the Macedonian border. The closest airport is Thessaloniki, one hour away from us. We do not provide volunteers rides to and from the airport. But we make exceptions if there is no bus at the arrival time (from 9pm to 11pm). If you arrive after 11:30 pm you should spend the night in Thessaloniki.

When you arrive to the Airport you should take the bus number 78 to the Macedonian main bus station in Thessaloniki, there you will find the bus to Polikastro. Once arrival to Polikastro take off in the second stop. We are in Megalou Alexandros Street, 149.

 

Housing:

Open Cultural Center has an apartment in the same street as the Cultural Center, just 20 meters away. Volunteers may stay at the apartment for 5 Euros per night. Volunteers who commit to a minimum of 90 days don´t need to pay rent, Open Cultural Center will cover the accommodation costs. The rent should be paid to the Coordinator in the firsts days of the volunteer arrival, in cash or by bank transfer.

Volunteers should expect to share their bedroom space with another volunteer.

We ask our volunteers to be quiet in the resting time. After midnight is not allowed to make noise or stay outside the bedrooms, we need to respect the volunteers who wants to rest and also to the neighborhoods.  We have a balcony on which to smoke.

The daily tasks as cleaning and cooking are organized by shifts, Please do your duty at time.

We usually have the meals together and we share the food, so every week we collect 20€ per person to do a joint grocery, with this amount the volunteers will cover breakfast, lunch and dinner. The shopping list is done by the volunteers.

 

Internet:

There is wifi at the apartment and at the Cultural Center. Also, there are lots of cafes with free wifi. Vodafone sells data sim card 5 GB for 10 Euros.

 

Communication:

Our team communicates via group chat on Whatsapp. Volunteers must have a smartphone with data so that we can communicate and coordinate effectively.

Greek SIM cards are strongly recommended. If you choose to use your international plan, you must be available on whatsapp throughout the day.

 

Transportation around Polikastro:

There are many buses from Polikastro to Thessaloniki every day.

We have two vehicles used for transferring people from the camp and surrounding villages to the Cultural Center. The cars are just to be used for work needs; however we plan a team activity once a month and usually we can use the cars.

For other needs volunteers may choose to rent a vehicle at their own expense. There are also taxis for emergencies.

 

Groceries:

There are plenty of grocery stores in Polikastro. They range from local groceries to large stores. Prices are comparable to what you’re used to back home. Every Saturday morning (volunteers go before the team meeting), there is a massive farmer’s market, where you can find basically anything and at affordable prices.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who makes this project possible
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