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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!

Layali Shop

Layali Shop is located at Voulis 8, just two blocks away from Syntagma Square, the busiest modern city center of Athens. 

Layali Shop offers unique handmade goods, such as:

  • Necklaces
  • Earrings
  • Purses
  • And much more

All of the makers whose products are sold at Layali Shop were hand selected to produce high quality and environmentally sustainable goods.  Each of our makers are refugees from various countries throughout the Middle East and Africa.  All profits from sales go directly back to these makers; in this we are providing training and jobs where individuals can to learn to use their talents and thrive with independence. 

Stop by Layali Shop to get unique handmade goods and gifts, and support Project Layali: a social enterprise working to create a sustainable future for the refugee population in Athens.

Now you can also discrover all the products on our new eshop!

Layali Salon: Our Eco-Friendly Initiative

Layali Salon is the first salon in Athens that was built on the principles of using all natural, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free products.  It is has always been important to us that our products and services have a small footprint on the environment.

Layali Salon

We feature all-natural Greek skincare and beauty brands; whenever possible we try to incorporate local and hand selected products.

Take a look at some of the great natural ingredients used for our in house hand mixed masks, scrubs, and conditioners :

  • Avocado Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Greek Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Camomille
  • Henna
  • White Clay
  • And More

Not only does Layali Salon solely focus on training and employing the struggling refugee population, but we strive to make all services through Project Layali and Za’atar NGO as eco-friendly as possible. From our use of upcycled furniture, classes and activities to teach our beneficiaries about living sustainably, and the daily free vegan lunch, to the hair and skin products we feature; Project Layali and Za’atar NGO are committed to an all-around environmentally friendly approach to helping solve the refugee crisis in Athens.

Layali: A Refugee-Run Salon in the Heart of Athens!

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.

Our latest project, Layali Salon, is officially open for business! Layali Salon is a beauty salon located in the heart of Athens, staffed by refugees from across the Middle East and Africa. The project is will also manag a paid apprenticeship program whereby refugees and migrants can gain entry-level experience in the beauty industry.

Since its launch, Layali Salon has garnered buzz with the locals due to its philanthropic work and desire to provide refugees and asylum-seekers with financial independence. Click here to read an article about the salon covered by CNN Greece.

Head to 78, Pipinou Street in Athens for a fresh haircut and become a part of our community!

Want to learn more? Visit our website or show us some love on Instagram!

Three Ways You Can Help Za’atar in 2019

Is your New Year’s resolution to get more involved with volunteer efforts? Za’atar is here with a list of three easy ways you can help in 2019.

1. Volunteer: Volunteers are crucial to Za’atar’s ability to achieve our goals. There are multiple ways that you can give your time. If you have two weeks or more to spend in Athens, you can help directly at the Orange House. We look for volunteers to work between four or five six-hour shifts each week.

While at the Orange House you can interact with our refugee community and help with tasks such as teaching languages, cooking and cleaning. For more information on volunteering in Athens visit zaatarngo.org/volunteer.

Za’atar volunteers and refugees on a day trip.

However, if you can’t join us in Athens, that doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer! There are also opportunities to volunteer remotely. To learn more, send an email to volunteer@zaatarngo.org.

2. Fundraising: Za’atar is a non-profit that relies on private donations and fundraisers to support our services. If you’re a great organizer, you can help by creating and running a fundraiser. Some examples of fundraising events include cake sales, races, sponsored challenges or trivia nights.

English books donated by National Geographic.

3. Live More Ethically: When was the last time you thought about where your clothes were made? Considering the ethics of the companies you support is one simple way to live a more ethical life. Some major corporations use production means that are at odds with Za’atar’s mission. In a sense, every good that we buy can be a political act in itself.

This is why Za’atar has created the Layali project to employ refugees at fair wages. The shop sells ethically made goods such as clothing, jewelry and bags.

This list is just the beginning of ways you can help Za’atar in 2019. For more updates on volunteer opportunities throughout the year, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Za’atar Goes Fishing

As the largest seaport in Greece and a major port of entry into mainland Europe for many refugees and migrants, the Port of Piraeus can be seen as a symbol of opportunity. Recently, the port has also played a role in another opportunity – a fishing school held by Zaatar to promote its mission of helping refugees and migrants build self-sufficient lifestyles.

Classes were held at the port, along with The Orange House, on Saturdays throughout October and November. Intended to help students gain the necessary tools to enter a career in fishing, students went through an application and interview process to attend. Ten students of four different nationalities – both newcomers and regulars of Orange House’s classes – were among the participants.

The schooling was taught in Arabic and featured two hours of Greek class and five hours of fishing class. Throughout the fishing classes the students learned skills of the trade such as how to make knots and how to use nets. Upon completion of the school, students were given the opportunity to apply their skills in a two- week paid internship with local fishermen.

The Sounds of the Orange House

If you could measure the activity of Orange House; the frequency of movement through its halls, the pitch of its chatter, music would be the best medium. Most days start slow—perhaps the only sounds emitted come from an early morning conversation, or a faint song from a beneficiary’s phone. As activity picks up, and more familiar faces stream through our doors, you can hear the soft strum of a guitar, resounding taps against its body, and a rounded voice carefully bring to life the words of a ballad from one’s homeland. As these sounds fill the room, our volunteers mill about and our beneficiaries enjoy their lunches while conversing with friends. Music teaching and making provides us the ability to pursue our mission to build a multicultural, generational community by integrating elements of new and old, all the while savoring in the comfort of a intimate environment.

Continuing with our passion to cultivate knowledge-sharing, we offer a series of classes that incorporate different cultural and artistic elements in skills building. Our Arab-Iranian dance classes, taught by an Orange House resident, provide lessons in belly-dancing, a dance widely popular throughout the Middle East. Classes require intense
physical exercise while enjoying classic and popular Middle Eastern dance hits. These evening lessons include Orange House residents, volunteers, and women from various parts of Athens. Our interest in the arts doesn’t stop there however, as we also provide lessons in piano, guitar, and disc-jockeying. Our teachers patiently work with students in tight-knit groups and teach music composition while also having fun in exploring new sounds.

Orange House is a space established, in part, for knowledge sharing and acquisition. To do so, it is imperative that we cultivate a trusting, comfortable, and enjoyable environment for individuals and groups to learn in. Not only do our opportunities for music learning and making accomplish this, but they also enable our beneficiaries to explore their passions, be creative, and play around in a welcoming place.

Serving up showers, Iftar, and education: Orange House works on!

As new refugees continue to arrive in Athens, and as those already here work to live, learn and adapt with dignity, Za’atar and Orange House continue to welcome them and provide services. Here’s some information on our activities in June 2018.

Orange House has just one shower but it was beautifully refurbished in spring 2018 and is working to capacity every weekday. In June 2018, we provided 805 showers – an average of 201 per week, or 38.3 per day. When the temperature rises so does the demand, and the last 2 weeks of June, we provided an average of 42 showers per day.

Classes continue to draw many enthusiastic students. Orange House offered 196 classes in June, that’s an average of 49 per week. We served 1814 students in June – over 450 per week and an average of 82.4 per day on weekdays. Classes are offered in many languages such as English, German, Greek and French, at many levels, and for speakers of different native languages – for example, ‘English for Farsi speakers’. Some of our most popular language classes are conversational English and Greek. We also offered classes in beginner and advanced guitar, dance, piano, and yoga.

Another important service is our meal program. In the last 2 weeks of June we served 231 hot lunches free of charge. In addition, we honored the Ramandan period by serving Iftar every evening after sundown. We served an average of 50 per night for the month of Ramandan. Meals were cooked by two refugees, an Iraqi man and a Lebanese woman.

Orange house also offers CV help, free WiFi, childcare for those attending classes; social worker appointments and referrals to lawyers and medical services.

All our teachers volunteer their time, and Orange House is mainly run by volunteer staff. We’d like to thank all our volunteers who manage the showers, cook meals, provide information, and teach our classes – as well as all those who use our services.

Volunteers are always needed – here’s where to apply. We’re always also always looking for donations!