Christina Koufopoulou has studied Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and has been working as a teacher at SolidarityNow for the past 3 years. Her involvement with the humanitarian sector was almost fatal. Years ago, a friend asked her, in which job she feels like herself. Christina said that could be herself working in nature or by helping other people. Until then, she has worked as a volunteer with Roma children and on programs about child entrepreneurship. Eventually life brought her close to what she really loved.
“Every woman who works in an NGO is a role-model. The first thing the refugees and migrants encounter is the female sex. They ask us for help and support, and this automatically overturns some roles”, Christina tells us. She believes that it is important how teachers work in the workplace and how the curricula is delivered in order not to promote gender stereotypes, and this must be done with discretion and respect for the culture and values of refugees and migrant women. “If you talk to the girls and their mothers you will understand that they obvious have stereotypes. They believe that they cannot do things and you observe this at all ages to a different degree of course”, Christina adds.
“Generally, I think it is very important for a person to feel useful and to produce something for which he is proud. Because this is ultimately something that makes us feel stronger”. For Christina strength is drawn from the control of our own life. She believes that NGO workers help women beneficiaries and not only, to learn to take control over their lives. They might not achieve an ideal result but at least they help them find their way.
“What really empowers you is love, which gives you an incentive to try more in this direction”
*Following a proposal by the Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki, SolidarityNow unites its forces with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the YMCA to create a program for the education of refugee children in the center of Thessaloniki. The project «Dia-Drasis» is funded by Open Society Foundations.