OCC Greece is located in Polykastro, a small town in the North of Greece, close to the Greek-Macedonian border. Just 4 km away from Polykastro is the largest refugee camp of Northern Greece, called Nea Kavala. The numbers of asylum seekers living there fluctuate seasonally, with peaks sometimes reaching 600 people. OCC Greece aims to support residents living in the camp by providing transport options, organising language classes and intercultural activities, and offering space spaces for both adults and children.
Our Bike Space project has been designed to address the isolation of residents of the Nea Kavala refugee camp. With no public transport, the residents have limited mobility options to access the nearest town of Polykastro. Through this project, we offer camp residents bicycles free of charge, helping them move more independently and access amenities and services such as health care, pharmacies or food that are available in the town.
To come to OCC’s center located in Polykastro, the residents of Nea Kavala camp have to travel 4 km from the camp. Without public transport, some residents have little choice but to walk all the way to the town, a journey that is tiring and made even more challenging during the hot summer months. To tackle this problem, our bus service brings camp residents to our center, where they can take part in classes, events or enjoy our safe spaces.
Building a friendly community among the volunteers and the students, as well as the community of Polykastro is vital for OCC. OCC has a meeting space that serves this purpose. The Cafeteria is the centre of all our activities in Greece and the space where community members can register for courses and activities. The Cafeteria is also the meeting space for OCC members and volunteers. The Cafeteria is open to everyone and it offers free tea, coffee, board games, books and internet connection.
Classes for adults and children
Classes for refugee children
Each afternoon from Tuesday to Friday OCC holds classes for refugee children in the Polykastro area. The classes are organised into three groups: Falafels (6-8), Eagles (9-12), and Pirates (13-17). Classes are three hours, with one half dedicated to language education and one half dedicated to an activity (sports, children’s workshops, crafts, cooperative games, etc.). Each class is led by a resident and an international volunteer. Child students receive both English and Greek language education on alternating days.
Both in Spain and Greece, we use language to connect locals, volunteers and newcomers through our free classes. The classes in Barcelona are given by both locals and newcomers, and students are also a mixture of the two. Classes are free for our members and it’s a great opportunity to get to know new people. In Greece, students are mainly refugees from the Nevala Neu refugee camp, learning Greek, English and/or other languages (cost-free).