Fotini, teacher, Integration Learning Center, Athens
Fotini has been working for Civil Society’s organizations since 2016. She is a philologist and teaches Greek to refugees and migrants. Since 2019, she is one of the teachers at the SolidarityNow Integration Learning Center for the “HELIOS” program*, teaching the Greek language to recognized adult refugees living in Greece.
During all this time, being close to the people and the daily effort of the organizations and their employees to comfort and strengthen them to continue their lives, her goal is obvious: “the aim is one; actual integration, achieved only through education”.
With this in mind and heart, Fotini teaches the Greek language every day to people who live in Greece but are not Greeks, but then are equal to everyone and deserve getting the same opportunities – “It is not just the strictly cognitive part“, she says, “but it is the knowledge provided through the program that is applicable in the people’s everyday life. We give them the opportunity to acquire the basic knowledge of Greek, but we also teach them several other skills, related to social behavior, communication, organization and time management”.
Fotini describes many assets of the “HELIOS” program, which, as she tells us, are reflected in people’s lives. Thus, she admires her student who started attending classes without any motivation apart from accepting its mandatory character, and today he has become an interpreter and his classmates’ inspiration! Respectively, she is proud of her student who works hard for a living, but also is meticulous and consistent with his lessons while always expressing his gratitude for his progress – “we have become his point of reference“, Fotini explains with a smile.
“The appropriate structure and curriculum of the educational program, the specific book, the classroom culture and the connection with work counselors, are elements of “HELIOS” that facilitate our work and mainly enhance the healthy multicultural exchange, collaboration, and tolerance. In addition, a positive and optimistic observation is that there is a sizeable participation of women also in the program – there is no exclusion, and that is promising“. For Fotini, this is her crowning achievement, the success of education which is what she loves doing in her life. “When my mind is occupied doing the same thing for a long time, I get tired and search for something challenging and new“, says Fotini, a young woman, fan of lifelong learning.
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).
- Watch IOM’s new awareness campaign at the link below: