Laura and Chiara joined ESC voluntarism project in Ioannina, at our organisation Youth Center of Epirus. Their main activities were to implement recreational and non-formal educational activities for asylum seeker children and teenagers, and to work on digital content creation on asylum seeker integration related themes. Below, you can read her testimony and see photos of her experience in Ioannina! 


The activity is part of the project "Agios Athanasios" which is supported by the European Commission and is under the European Solidarity Corps programme. 


In March, I participated in an ESC Volunteering project called “Agios Athanasios Asylum Seeker Accommodation Facility”, which was  implemented in Ioannina, Greece. 


The main objectives of this project revolved around the well-being and integration of unaccompanied asylum seekers. One part of the activities was focused on planning and performing non-formal educational activities for the hosts of the facility, while the second part consisted in creating digital content on the issue of migration.


I had good expectations going into this project, as I have a strong interest for this topic. So, I was excited to experience first-hand how a facility hosting teenage male asylum seekers works and to interact with them on a daily basis. On this account, my experience surpassed my expectations: I had a great time connecting with and learning from the asylum seekers.


I and the other volunteers planned non-formal educational activities: the main idea was to create activities that could help them develop a skill by doing something engaging as a group game, making bracelets or even playing football.


It was also important to me to give a strong contribution to their integration into European society, so I developed an activity that would teach them how to recognise traffic road signs and rules.


I also had a wonderful experience with the host country: Greece. Coming from the South of Italy, I felt there was little to no difference in how Italians and Greeks experience life and culture. At the same time, I was able to appreciate the countless influences coming from Eastern and Middle Eastern culture: especially the food! 


Even thought my experience was brief, I appreciated the time spent there, because I was able to hone my English and Arabic-speaking skills and learn how to plan and perform educational activities and games. Finally, I continued to develop intercultural communication abilities and I reinforced my interest for the topic of migration and the difficulties experienced by asylum seekers when entering the European Union.

This project was co-funded by the European Commission.