INTERNATIONAL TEACHER’S DAY_“What I try to convey to my students from all over the world is my love for learning”


Emmanouela, teacher, Integration Learning Center, Athens

She has just finished her course at the “HELIOS” Integration Learning Center* in Athens, and during her break she is happy to talk about her work and experience in this program, which in her opinion is indeed “a second sun”** for its beneficiaries.

Emmanuela is a language professor who teaches Greek to recognized adult refugees living in Greece. Her theoretical knowledge in teaching Greek as a second / foreign language was the means that led her to work in this field of education, but not only: “I always wanted to help people communicate. I also like the different cultures, customs, and traditions, and I always observed these differences that nonetheless make the lives of all of us so much more interesting. And the most important thing for me is that the more you observe and comprehend the differences, the more likely it is to find similarities among people” – this is how Emmanuela describes herself and answers to the question why she teaches Greek to refugees/migrants, choosing a professional path that is more difficult than the established one.

She shares many everyday stories of multicultural interaction, most of them enjoyable and funny. After all, whatever the composition of the class, in the end everyone laughs at the same things, even when they do not speak a common language. This is what moves her. She is very happy to belong to a group of people, such as that of “HELIOS”, and recognizes that “the contribution of all is essential for what we ultimately offer to our beneficiaries-students. For example, we learn a lot of interesting and especially useful tips of how to approach our students effectively, through our interaction with the interpreters. Thus, we all become a strong team, all carriers of distinct knowledge, which when combined offers the appropriate knowledge and guidance to people who need it.

Emmanuela smiles when asked to tell us about a special moment and remembers one of her students who “during the lesson, her phone rang, and she found out that she has just been fired. Her psychological collapse in the classroom upset all the students and I immediately referred her to the IOM work counselor, who is in the same working space. She then received advice from an accountant to get to know her rights; the whole process was followed as for her to be able to immediately look for another job and the entire situation altered. She continued attending classes, she calmed down and managed to continue”. According to Emmanuela, the above successful example became possible due to the well-organized and structured program that includes different and distinct directions. The cooperation of both educational and employment counselors, provides people with a supportive framework necessary to continue in the educational process, directly seeing the positive impact on their everyday life.

Emmanuela, is a happy teacher of many students from around the world and a lifelong learner – she is now learning Farsi, the fourth foreign language after English, Italian and French: “I love being a teacher. But what I try to convey to my students from all over the world is my love for learning. And maybe they become learning lovers too and understand that through education and knowledge they can improve their own lives and the lives of the people around them”.


The HELIOS program

SolidarityNow in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and in the framework of the implementation of the HELIOS program organizes integration and information classes within its Integration Learning Centers established across Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina).

* SolidarityNow is a key implementing partner of the International Organization for Migration, in the framework of the “HELIOS” program, which is funded by the European Commission – Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME).

** “Education is the second sun for people”, Plato.


Watch IOM’s new awareness campaign at the link below: