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Jimins’fundraiser

Za’atar NGO is grateful to the One in an Army initiative for their support. Learn more about their project and campaigns here.

“Welcome to #HomeWithJimin, ARMY! As you voted to give love to a shelter for our sweet Jiminie’s birthday, we are proud to support Za’atar NGO, an organization that operates the Orange House, a shelter for refugees located in Athens, Greece.

Refugees are people who have had to flee their countries due to war or great personal danger due to social or political injustice. The Orange House provides a place of shelter, with a particular focus on refugees who are women and children, as well as unaccompanied minors, people who identify as LGBT, and those who have been imprisoned.


Our Jimin’s gentle heart, giving nature, and beautiful voice can make any place a home for us, and we are proud to pay forward to others what he gives freely by helping them find a safe place to regain health, get training, and feel welcome while they start to make their home in a new land. Please support Za’atar NGO in honor of our Home, Jimin!”

Support us through Paypal : https://zaatarngo.org/donations/

Please write BTS Army in the notes !

Or through a bank transfer with the IBAN :
GR5502606140000410200155280

Visit their website: https://oneinanarmy.org [2] or Twitter:twitter.com/OneInAnARMY [3]   

* Celebrate #1YearWithOIAA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoXhegRDA8c   

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* OIAA on beta.freerice.com [4]: Group: BTS ARMY Code: HH7RY6NH

BTS Army.

Thank you One in an Army !

Thanks to all our funders for their support.

How I Became Part of Za’atar’s Family – Aude’s Volunteering Testimony (2/2)

During the month that felt like a lifetime, this June 2019, I volunteered for Za’atar NGO. From folding children’s clothing, organizing folders, and even giving a guitar class in sign language; to taking an improvised Irani dance lesson at the Layali Salon, I learnt what volunteering is all about, what activism and social change truly mean. Back in France, where I have not stopped working for Za’atar NGO, and before going back to Athens as soon as possible, I thought I would give you a little insight of what my life had been – or really what it became, there at The Orange House.

My name is Aude Sathoud, I am an eighteen-year-old French-Congolese student in Political and Social Sciences at Sciences Po, and this is a little bit of my story.

Part 2 – When the Orange House becomes Home.

In addition to my weekly shifts at the Orange House, and occasional support to Pampiraiki at the warehouse, I was lucky to get the opportunity to give a few English classes, during the second part of my Athenian adventure. About twenty classes are offered every week at the Orange House. Focusing on language classes (English and Greek, are the main ones) students can attend a great variety of classes and activities. They are encouraged to come to the English conversation sessions to practice speaking, or even learn to write and improve their C.V during dedicated workshops. Moreover, they can follow a computer skills class given thanks to a collaboration with the Social Hackers Academy, join the second running installation of the Cooking Class job training, and even learn some very nice hip moves by taking the Irani and Arabic dance class.  

Offering the most varied and qualitative classes/activities, the Orange House is a principal factor inscribed in Za’atar NGO’s philosophy of empowerment of students as well as volunteers. Za’atar’s mission is not about providing refugees basic goods and services to survive; it is to give them the keys to build a sustainable way of living their own lives. Asking for volunteers to be dynamic and proactive, Za’atar encourages them to share their knowledge and talents. This is how a gardening-lover once happened to cover the Orange House with flowers; a yoga instructor to offer personalized yoga sessions; or a dance student to teach basic moves and choreography to beneficiaries. This is how I ended up giving an unplanned one-hour guitar class to two farsi-speaking siblings, trying to bond without any other language than smiles, thumbs up, and high-fives. 

In one month at the Orange House, I did not learn that much about the war in Syria, life under bombings, survival methods in camps, or the dangers of crossing borders. I did not talk nor hear much about exile, loss, nor death. I did learn, however, how to cook foufou the Guinean way; even play a Hindi hit song on the guitar or dance some Irani steps. I did hear, however, about the Senegalese wrestling, Oriental threading, and the best spots to trek at dawn in Turkey.  I did learn, however, about the freedom of sailing, and the feeling of the wind on one’s skin when climbing. 

In one month at the Orange House, I did not meet those refugees I had been told about for years. I did not meet victims – we would rather say survivors. I did meet, however, a mechanical engineer, a literature teacher, a medical student, a police officer – and even a race car driver! I did meet, however, a great number of soccer players, happy eaters, funny pranksters… From my one-month volunteering with Za’atar, I do not recall neither drama nor tears. I do recall, however, our dances and laughters. 

To  learn more about Za’atar, and their various amazing initiatives please visit their website and Instagram!

zaatarngo.org

instagram.com/zaatarproject/

www.projectlayali.org/

Speaking Up To Move Forward.

In order to better advocate for and empower the refugees and migrants welcomed at the Orange House, Za’atar’s leadership regularly takes part in both national and international conferences and meetings. From interfaith and intercultural initiatives, to a sexual and gender-based violence panel, Za’atar’s director Marina Liakis has been both a speaker at, and an attendee of conferences and workshops focusing on issues surrounding the inclusion of migrants and refugees in Europe.

Thus far, Za’atar has been included in three of the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID)’s Network for Dialogue workshops; focusing on network planning in order to learn how to pursue their mission in the most empowering, productive, economic, and eco-friendly ways. The KAICIID, founded in 2012, is a “partner for UN agencies, national governments and internationally active religious and interreligious organizations”. In this framework, Ms. Liakis has spoken at roundtables alongside representatives of faith-based and secular organizations about how to advocate for the rights and well-being of migrants and those seeking refuge. Some of the questions dealt with included: “How do young migrants’ and refugees’ understanding of the “Other” change based on where they are?” “How can faith-based approaches help or hinder inclusion?”

In June 2018, Za’atar was present in Lyon, France to partake in conferences organized for the Journée D’étude Internationale; addressing Transnational Mobility and Religious Realities through a roundtable entitled “Forced Migration, Social Inclusion, and Humanitarian Actions in Context”.

Earlier in March 2018, Ms. Liakis represented Za’atar in an expert panel concerning Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the context of forced migration, held by The Unmentionables in collaboration with the Harvard Policy Leadership Group at the Wyndham Grand Athens. Addressing a topical issue in the specific, and too often forgotten situation of displaced communities, the discussion aimed at crossing perspectives, deepening the understanding to eventually propose concrete policy recommendations.

Za’atar NGO has an ongoing commitment to participating in international dialogues in order to both educate and learn from other actors in a shared mission: to advocate for the rights and inclusion of refugees and migrants throughout Europe.

For more information about the mentioned conferences, please visit the KAICIID’s website: https://www.kaiciid.org

To learn more about Za’atar NGO, the Orange House, Project Layali, and their various amazing initiatives please visit their websites and Instagram!

zaatarngo.org

instagram.com/zaatarproject/

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How I Became Part of Za’atar’s Family – Aude’s Volunteering Testimony

During the month that felt like a lifetime, this June 2019, I volunteered for Za’atar NGO. From folding children’s clothing, organizing a folder, and even giving a guitar class in sign language; to taking an improvised Irani dance lesson at the Layali Salon, I learnt what volunteering is all about, what activism and social change truly mean. Back in France, where I have not stopped working for Za’atar NGO, and before going back to Athens as soon as possible, I thought I would give you a little insight of what my life had been – or really what it became, there at The Orange House.

My name is Aude Sathoud, I am an eighteen-year-old French-Congolese student in Political and Social Sciences at Sciences Po, and this is a little bit of my story.

Part 1 – Where I Learn That Every Action Matters.

Hosted at the volunteers’ apartment where I lived for four weeks with some eight different roommates, coming from Australia, Mexico, France, and Morocco I quickly understood the importance of the “team spirit” Za’atar promotes, which soon turned into a real family bond.

I spent part of my time at The Orange House, Za’atar’s day center where volunteers work in four-hour-shifts, welcoming students, receiving donations, answering phone calls, informing newcomers, and insuring a positive atmosphere and the smoothest running of the House.

Once or twice a week I was sent to the warehouse run by a partner organization of Za’atar, Pampiraiki, settled in the buildings of the old Athens’ airport and 2004 Olympic stadiums. Requisitioned in emergency at the peak of the migrant arrivals to the Piraeus port, this vast empty space hosted thousands of people for a period, before being transformed into a sorting center for the donations flowing from around the world into Greece and all of Europe.

Clothing, shoes, games, blankets, food, and more; I spent hours there, packing and ordering. While this may not be Za’atar’s first mission, it is a crucial aspect to them to provide their support and take part in every step of the process in order to build a global solution to the migrants’ and refugees’ situations.  Sharing this belief, I did not hesitate for an instant when I was offered to take part in a beach clean-up of one of Athens’ most crowded and consequently polluted beaches, Edem.

According to the United Nations, the world will count 250 million climatic refugees in 2050. Dedicated to refugees’ empowerment, Za’atar NGO considers social action in its widest meaning, and therefore makes sure that all of its’ initiatives act in favour of the protection of the ecosystems and sustainable development. That is why they offer vegan meals at The Orange House daily, buy raw materials from local producers, use vegan/cruelty-free brands at Layali Salon, and sell clothes at the Layali Shop which are often made from recycling the many donations received by the organization.

Stay tuned for the next peak into my volunteering experience with Za’atar NGO! To  learn more about them, and their various amazing initiatives please visit their websites and Instagram!

zaatarngo.org

instagram.com/zaatarproject/

http://www.projectlayali.org/

Sunday Fun Day – Just Another Day of Fun!

It is 11:30am on a peaceful Sunday of Spring as an enthusiastic group waits in front of the Orange House for another Sunday Fun Day adventure. Since there are usually no classes to attend on the weekend, beneficiaries are invited to take part in free Sunday activities. From children to elders, everyone is welcome! 

Movie projections at the Orange House, discovery walk of Athens’ numerous and gorgeous parks, free visits to various museums, with every Sunday comes its new activity, organized by our volunteers. 

The idea of the Sunday Fun Day first came to Za’atar’s founders when they noticed the negative vision refugees and foreign newcomers living in the camps have developed about Athens; and therefore, about Greece. Willing to introduce them to the richness of the culture and history of a country they rarely consider settling in, they quickly realized the deeper impact the initiative had on our beneficiaries.

 Too often confined in the poorest neighbourhoods and neglected fringes of the Athens, refugees end up feeling condemned to such an environment and in turn this can make refugees feel “unworthy” to aspire to a better quality of life. Getting the chance to learn about Athens’ past and Greek civilization, going to visit a Van Gogh exhibit, or even taking part in the celebration of the Orthodox Pesach, are all ways to ease their social integration and break their own mental barriers and self-censorship regarding art and culture – that is true empowerment!

Find out more about Za’atar NGO and our other initiatives by visiting our website and Instagram!

zaatarngo.org

https://www.instagram.com/zaatarproject/

Pride 2019 – The Orange House for the Rainbow Day

Rainbow flags brightly painted on their cheeks, and their skin sparkling, Za’atar’s volunteers were present all day long at our booth in Syntagma Square this Saturday June 8th for Athens Pride. 

Za’atar is always aware of the particularly hard situations faced by the most vulnerable populations– unaccompanied minors, vulnerable minors, single women and LGBTQ+ refugees. The ATLAS initiative Za’atar presents and promotes every year at Pride specifically targets the LGBTQ+ refugee and migrant populations in Athens. 

LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are often seriously threatened and actively persecuted in their home countries, and refugees unfortunately do not find more safety or peace once they have crossed  European borders. They indeed are very likely to experience the same violence from their home community in camps. That is why they require specific aid, that very few organizations acknowledge and/or offer.

Since 2016 ATLAS or “Aid To LGBTQ+ Asylum Seekers” Initiative offers a safe and friendly support group for LGBTQ+ refugees, their family, and friends. In coordination with ATLAS, Za’atar built a program designed to ease the transition into European life for these individuals. It provides a variety of services such as:

  • Operating a Helpline for LGBTQ+ refugees worldwide in Farsi, Arabic, French and English
  • Providing a safe space at The Orange House for people of all sexual orientations and genders
  • Teaching the broader refugee community about LGBTQ+ rights
  • Ensuring all volunteers are LGBTQ+ friendly
  • Organizing LGBTQ+ social events to assist members of the community in meeting one another.

Being present at Pride every year enables Za’atar to raise awareness, meet with other organizations working for a more intersectional and real inclusion, and show support and dedication in times where no human right is ever granted.  

Contact us by searching ‘ATLAS (Aid To LGBTQ Asylum Seekers) on Facebook or http://www.facebook.com/groups/atlas LGBTQ/, calling +30 694 067 1666 or emailing contact@zaatarngo.org.

Find out more about Za’atar NGO and our other initiatives by visiting our website and Instagram!

zaatarngo.org

https://www.instagram.com/zaatarproject/

Technopolis 2019: Project Layali was there!

As part of the Meet Market – Athens’ nomadic and innovative market place offering local products, fresh ideas and sunny vibes it recently joined, Project Layali attended the 19th edition of Athens’ famous Technopolis Jazz Festival from the 27th May to 2nd of June. 

Founded in February 2018, Project Layali assists refugees in building self-sustaining lifestyles by providing income-generating opportunities.  Instead of relying on charitable donations to create social impact, Layali focuses on projects operated as self-sufficient businesses. Our locations aim to increase positive interactions between refugees, locals, and tourists in Athens.

Project Layali’s stand welcomed all the curious and jazz lovers, presenting them a large panel of items created and conceived by the refugees themselves. From tote bags to pillows, jewellery to carpets – that can even be personalized after a photograph! Everyone can find their missing treasure at Layali’s shop.

Find out more about Project Layali and our other initiatives by visiting our website and Instagram!

Chamber of Beautiful Business, Athens

Last weekend our director, Marina Liakis, was invited to speak at the Chamber of Beautiful Business, Athens. “Designed to resemble a modern salon litteraire, the Chamber of Beautiful Business, Athens is a place for people with business brains and artistic hearts to share our ideas and exchange our experiences around integration.” Marina gave a moving speech about the importance of purposeful integration of refugee populations into the European communities.  Using Project Layali and the Orange House as examples of how programs that reinforce hard work, dedication, and flexibility will in turn teach our beneficiaries to be self sufficient in their everyday lives. Za’atar is able to showcase how when refugees are given the tools and skills to be independent and successful,  even individuals coming to Europe with nothing can learn to thrive in Athens.  At Za’atar we believe that ingeration must always go both ways, and as Athens continues to change and welcome refugee populations from Africa and the Middle East, Greeks too must learn to incorporate the traditions and cultures of their new found neighbors into their own.

https://houseofbeautifulbusiness.com/chamber-athens

Job Skill Training Courses: Tailoring Class

Looking for a new bag, a fluffy pillow or even a carpet with your lover’s portrait? Layali Project’s shop and creators, following a two-month tailoring class, are waiting for you!

Za’atar NGO is proud to provide job skill training courses at the Orange House founded by Humanity Now: Direct Refugee Relief. These courses allow us to provide our refugee beneficiaries with core skills needed to receive in demand jobs in Athens. We focus on providing both language and job skill courses to make sure our students get a well-rounded education, and learn the skills that are actually necessary in their chosen trade.  The Orange House also provides CV Workshops, Interview Prep, and many more classes that both women and men can take advantage of for FREE! 

It is now offering training classes in Tailoring. Becoming a tailor is a lucrative job in Athens, where the industry is still strong and offering a great number of employment opportunities. With training and refined skills, our beneficiaries are able to become independent and self-sufficient by getting a job.

From pants and bags to pillow cases, small alterations to complete creations, students develop and improve their tailoring skills and are quickly able to sell their products at Layali Shop for profit.

Dedicated to refugees’empowerment, Za’atar NGO considers social action in its widest meaning and therefore makes sure its initiatives act in favour of the protection of the environment and sustainable development. That is why most of the items produced by the students are based on clothes recycling from the many donations received by the organization.

Come check our products or say hi at our shops and find out more about Project Layali, Zaatar NGO and our other initiatives by visiting our websites and Instagram!

Job Skill Training Courses: Cooking Class

Hmm… Can you feel that delicious smell? Hurry up, food lover, the cooking class is starting! 

Za’atar NGO is proud to provide job skill training courses at the Orange House founded by Humanity Now: Direct Refugee Relief. These courses allow us to provide our refugee beneficiaries with core skills needed to receive in demand jobs in Athens. We focus on providing both language and job skill courses to make sure our students get a well-rounded education, and learn the skills that are actually necessary in their chosen trade.  The Orange House also provides CV Workshops, Interview Prep, and many more classes that both women and men can take advantage of for FREE! 

Za’atar NGO could not have chosen a better name. It is now offering training classes in Cooking. Becoming a chef is a lucrative job in Athens, with training and refined skills our beneficiaries are able to become independent and self-sufficient by getting a job. That is why the class is fully taught in Greek by a Syrian woman who has been living on the island for many years and has worked for two restaurants there. Students can therefore improve both their general and cooking-specific vocabulary and integrate Greek restaurants the quickest. The course aims at giving them the secrets of Greek delights – moussaka, dolmades, souvlaki and more!

Cooking class

Students cook for themselves and grade each other’s plates at the end of the training, sharing advice and tips. The class enables those chefs-to-be, from all walks and sizes, to meet and interact, exchange and create, around a universal passion that knows no border – food.

Find out more about Za’atar NGO and our other initiatives by visiting our website and Instagram!

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