Refugee Education Center on Lesbos Island, Greece

Refugee Camp, Lesbos, Greece. March 2017

After long days of laying the groundwork, anticipation and preparation at home and then at the refugee camp, it's time to get down to work. We are pleased to report that even while still preparing the infrastructure of the educational center building, we have just started preliminary activities for children, teens and adults. The activity is led by volunteers who are representatives of the organizations: Natan, Hashomer Hatzair, and Ajyal.

We are excited to start working and looking forward to the next delegation of volunteers.     We are so proud of our members who are making real human connections of love for humanity.

About our mission:

The Bi-National Education Delegation is composed of three organizations that came together for the purpose of carrying out education activities with the refugees. Natan, which provides humanitarian aid, Ajyal - an organization operating in the Arab sector in Israel and Hashomer Hatzair - an organization operating in the Jewish sector in Israel and around the world.

The current delegation consists of educators with more than 10 years of field experience working with children and youth, as well as part of a both in the framework of formal schools as well as non-formal education, including after-school programs.

Working with refugee children at the site, Lesbos, Greece

Working with refugee children at the site, Lesbos, Greece

Group activity with mothers and children 

Group activity with mothers and children 

 

Yusef's Story - Yusef Kabha, Ajyal Volunteer - March 2017

Yusef Kabha, Ajyal Alumni 

Yusef Kabha, Ajyal Alumni 

When I learned that I was going to Greece to volunteer in the Syrian refugee camps, I became very excited  And I anticipated every day of the trip.  When I arrived in Greece, Einav took us on a tour of the refugee camps where I was very excited and began to talk to the male refugees. I was very excited by their stories about how they arrived and how they lived in an abandoned place. My friends and I started a little creative activity. I was especially excited to work with the Afghan children who are so talented, and quick to learn, intelligent and knowledgeable about culture.

Of the men who were around, we managed to enlist them to help us. There was a Syrian guy who was good at drawing. He painted the barrels that are used as a fence on our corner.  I had a lot of conversations with people who have hope and look toward their future with optimism. These are strong people. There is no doubt that they have difficulty living in the camp because of the lack of comforts, where their basic needs are not met.

What bothered me throughout my time there is the organizations that work there. There is a very strong political game and every organization is occupied with its own self-interest and its reputation. And there is almost no accurate update process between the organizations about what is happening and what is being done and what is lacking. This results in inaccurate information. I, as Yusef, went there to contribute and not to deal with the organizational war.

Anyway, I do have a very good feeling that we will build and operate the Education Center there. I had the honor to help plan the school's appearance and location. The members who traveled after me are setting up the school physically and it is now in the final stages of completion

As a Palestinian Arab citizen of the State of Israel, it was not so clear to people what that meant: Was I Israeli or Palestinian? This was something that my friend, Yair, and I managed to convey in the best light. In the end, the refugees accepted us as people who had come to help wholeheartedly regardless of nationality, culture or language

I returned to Israel with the feeling that I wanted the stay on.  I don't feel I've given all I can, and I plan to return if necessary.

Yusef Kabha - Ajyal