We are active in both Barcelona, Spain, and Polykastro, Greece. In both places, we carry out various educational and cultural activities that support refugees and migrants with their integration while connecting local communities to migrant communities. Most of our projects are made possible with the strong support of our many, various volunteers.
Open Cultural Centers
SPAIN AND GREECE
Our Open Cultural Centers are the places where our work start: this is where anyone – locals, refugees and migrants – can just walk in and get to know our organisation, meet new people and join our events. We have managed various centers, but right now we have one center in the heart of Barcelona and one in Polykastro, close to the Nea Kavala refugee camp.
Migracode acts as a bridge between the demand for skilled people in the tech sector and people with a migration background who are eager to work in the tech industry. Founded in 2019, we are cooperating with other code schools in Europe to build a large community of companies and students to foster both labor integration as well as social inclusion.
OCC launches a new free bus service that will bring students from the countryside and the city of Axiopolis to the centers of the organization located in Polykastro on a daily basis. A small change that will make a big difference for our students: it will save frustrations related to the long commutes to the city and will mean added motivation for those who could not attend classes simply due to lack of time.
OCCycling is a multidisciplinary project that includes the planning and execution of a shared mobility system with bikes and provides a training program in bicycle mechanics for young people and adults of the refugee population. That way, it seeks the empowerment of the main beneficiary groups and the feeling of belonging or ownership of the project through the repair of bicycles, and also participating in the coordination of the rental system.
“Amigo Mio” Book
The book “My Friend!” is a project by Open Cultural Center that was created in the refugee camp of Cherso, to the north of Thessaloniki. With the words and drawings by children in the refugee camp, it explains the journey of refugees to arrive in Greece. Abdul, Elaf, Amar and Heva are some of the children who illustrated and explained their personal stories: their life in Syria, before and during the war, the journey to Europe, life in the camp in Greece and their dreams for the future.
The Selfie of Migration (#BOZA)
We have collaborated in this wonderful project led by journalists Anna Surinyach and Severine Sajous. The output of the project is #BOZA: a film about people on the move from the African continent to Europe. In first person narrative and using videos and Selfies, Alhassane, Aminata, Mamadou, Mariam and Yahya tell their journeys and their goal of making “boza”.
SPAIN AND GREECE
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).
Growing up inside a refugee camp is not a safe environment for children. They are in constant distress, and don’t have many opportunities to escape the hardships of the life in the camp. This is why OCC offers a free kindergarten service in their center in Greece, allowing families to leave their children with OCC for a day, giving them a safe place to play and learn, while the families have the possibility to work or do other things they wouldn’t be able to do if they had to care for their children all day.
An important part of the integration process is finding a job, offering stability and economic prosperty. However, many people in refugee camps have been disconnected from the labour market for a long time. This is why OCC offers various workshops to increase their labour opportunities, including CV, computer and LinkedIn workshops.
The purpose of ITFLOWS is to provide accurate predictions and adequate management solutions of migration flows in the European Union in the phases of reception, relocation, settlement and integration of migration, according to a wide range of human factors and using multiple sources of information. These insights will be provided by an evidence-based ICT enabled solution (the EUMigraTool) and precise models. OCC is a vital partner to make this large EU-funded project possible.
Sports Community Building
SPAIN AND GREECE
Sports may be one of the best ways to bring people together and create understanding towards other people. This is why OCC is always trying to organise various sports events, ranging from cycling and football to volleyball and hiking. In Greece for instance, we regularly organise football tournaments (once even in collaboration with La Liga!), and in Spain we have a cycling group exisiting of MigraCode students and volunteers.