Our organisation

Our mission, vision and purpose

Mission

OCC equips migrants with tools to access opportunities and build a future while advancing equality and inclusion within local communities through intercultural exchange, education, and advocacy.

Vision

OCC will strive to become a key player within the community of organizations working to enhance the social and economic integration of migrants at a local level and an important voice advocating for policies that protect the rights of migrants and favor their inclusion within a diverse European society

Purpose

OCC wants to strongly contribute to an inclusive society without barriers to the legal, social and economic participation of migrants as equal and valued members of society.

Values

Inclusion & Diversity, Community Building, Volunteerism, Youth Empowerment, Innovation

Our story

Open Cultural Center (OCC), previously known as Idomeni Cultural Center (ICC), is an organization formed by volunteers that carries out both educational and cultural programs with refugees and migrants currently living in Barcelona, Spain, or in camps in Greece.

OCC was set up in early April 2016 and came from a collective initiative from independent volunteers working in the Idomeni refugee camps. Refugees and international volunteers worked together to give classes and create a safe environment for children as well as adults, where these could continue to learn despite living in the camps.

OCC also hosted cultural activities and events such as art and music classes, open-mic performances and movie nights. In Idomeni, the Cultural Center quickly turned into a significant resource in the camp, with over 150 children and over 80 adults attending the classes and events.

After the shutdown of the Idomeni camp on May 24th 2016, OCC followed the refugees to the official camps in Cherso and Sounio, taking their experiences and resources with them so as to continue the classes, workshops and cultural activities imparted by the refugees. OCC officially registered as a non-lucrative organization in 2016 with the name Open Cultural Center, to be able to continue their work in the other camps.

At the moment we are active in Polykastro, Greece, next to the Nea Kavala refugee camp, and in Barcelona, Spain, where we also support refugees and migrants through various activities.

Our goals

1

Social & Economic Inclusion

Migrants have improved ability, access and opportunity to participate and thrive in their new communities

2

Youth

Young people – especially young migrants – are engaged and empowered to positively influence their environment and their own future

3

Community

More cohesive and inclusive local communities value diversity and provide mutual support

4

Social Transformation

Greater awareness, understanding, and dialogue around migration contributes to positive attitudes and social change

5

Social innovation

Knowledge, innovation and evidence generation enhance the efficacy and reach of inclusion initiatives

6

Beyond borders

Cooperation with OCC Greece and transnational partnerships extend the reach and impact of OCC programming

Our main target groups

Refugees

Definition: A refugee is a person who has fled their own country because they are at risk of serious human rights violations and persecution there. The risks to their safety and life were so great that they felt they had no choice but to leave and seek safety outside their country because their own government cannot or will not protect them from those dangers. Refugees have a right to international protection.

Asylum Seekers

Definition: An asylum-seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country, but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim. Seeking asylum is a human right. This means everyone should be allowed to enter another country to seek asylum.

Migrants

Definition: There is no internationally accepted legal definition of a migrant. Like most agencies and organizations, we at Amnesty International understand migrants to be people staying outside their country of origin, who are not asylum-seekers or refugees. Lots of people don’t fit the legal definition of a refugee but could nevertheless be in danger if they went home.

*Source: Amnesty International

Our organisational structure