Greek and refugee children hold hands to explore Cultural DiversityIn Greek mainland sites, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) organizes non-formal educational activities to introduce refugees to the local culture and strengthen their social skills towards an inclusive and safe environment.
Refugee children in the Greek hosting sites at Lagadikia, Nea Kavala, Veria and Alexandria celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in May, taking part in several educational activities about the rich cultural diversity found in Europe and around the world.
Bridging refugees with different cultures and especially with the local one is a crucial element for peaceful coexistence, stability and development. It is also a step towards creating the conditions which will allow refugees and asylum seekers to regain a sense of normality in their life.
Refugee children who live in Lagadikia, spent the day with Greek students at the nearby public school following DRC Staff initiative and the necessary arrangements with the Greek Ministry of Education. The children mixed together and went through activities which helped them explore different cultural traditions.
“I wish we could go there every week and do activities with the Greek students,” 14-year-old Yousef from Iraq said. Next to him, Sara, a 12-year old girl from Palestine, said she enjoyed visiting the Greek school especially for “making new friends.”
The children enjoyed their time playing games originating from other countries and held hands trying to learn Syrian, Greek, Iraqi and other dances. They also shared recipes of traditional dishes and explored different traditional celebrations.
“It was great because we learned so many new things about other cultures and talked about our own countries, food and games,” said 9-year-old Fadia from Iraq.
The children also tried playing new sports, related to a different culture, and learned a few phrases from other languages.
"It is great to see how children, given the opportunity, cooperate and enjoy themselves transcending all cultural or national boundaries, said Maria Gkiourou, DRC Education Team Leader.
This was just one of the non-formal education activities organized by DRC Greece to empower refugees and enable their interaction with the local community funded by the European Commission's department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).