A Day at OCC in Greece

The day starts on wheels when the bike team opens the doors of the school (Madrasa), to take out the bicycles that will help occupy the classrooms with people who have the desire to learn. In the cafeteria, the volunteers who arrive earlier prepare the first coffees, and the occasional family sits on the sofas.

At the same time, children of all ages begin to arrive and at 9:30 the activities start. Madrasa is filled with volunteers from all over the world, and three teachers start their very different classes. With each day having a different program, students learn English, Arabic, science and mathematics. Meanwhile, the youngest, up to five years old, stay at the nursery making games, crafts, songs and workshops.

Half an hour later, a basic English class begins for a group of women who, with the support of one of the resident volunteers, become empowered and learn very quickly.

At the end of the English class for women, one of our vans returns them to their village. Meanwhile, volunteers take a break for breakfast in the middle of the morning. With renewed strength, at 12:00, they return to organise classes with sports, artistic, musical and relaxation activities.

At 13:30, little by little, the team of drivers returns the boys and girls to their town, and the center is slowly getting empty. Some people stay in the cafeteria and, from time to time, a resident makes use of the OCCycling service and rents a bicycle. Others rest or play chess and, at that time, most volunteers take the opportunity to eat, relax and prepare the afternoon activities.

At 16:30, it seems that the day begins again. Young people and adults are coming to Polykastro, prepared for classes of different levels of English, German and Spanish. If it’s Monday, sometimes they come for the ISRA-Aid psychosocial support sessions and, if it’s Friday, they might come to talk to Advocates Abroad’s lawyers.

Throughout the afternoon, the younger people also carry out sports activities, English classes, and take the opportunity to chat and have fun with their classmates and the team of volunteers. Adults choose the classes that suit them and spend time in the cafeteria. All this continues until 20:00, when everyone begins to make trips back to the countryside and the neighboring town, and the last classes will also finish at that time.

It is at this time that everyone is cleaning and closing the different spaces of OCC, ensuring that everything is ready for the activities of the next day. At 20:30, the team meets to share, evaluate, propose different ideas, make changes and improvements, and also to detect the aspects that work best to ensure continuity of the center.

Finally, after the meeting and just before going to dinner, the day ends on wheels, when the bike team returns the bikes to Madrasa and closes the doors of OCC Polykastro.