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SOFTEX CULTURAL CENTRE, NORTHERN GREECE

Our implementing partners InterVolve – International Volunteers have been working for months to improve the quality of life for those living in Softex refugee camp, northern Greece. Incredible volunteers and residents of the camp have used their talents to create a cultural centre, turning the basic building into a work of art and positive space in the middle of such a hostile environment.

Through a joyful and interactive approach, for the last four weeks the team have offered a range of workshops designed to facilitate team building and develop key life skills. The aim is to tackle sensitive issues, build bridges between various ethnic groups, challenge prejudices, improve communication and develop empathy and respect between community members.

These activities provide much needed space for individuals to share their feelings and can help to alleviate the unrelenting boredom many experience in the camp. For example, the crossing of a symbolic spiderweb during one activity was representative of the “crossing of the border of Macedonia”, the “boat ride from Turkey to Greece”, the “jump into the unknown” , the “risks of life” and the “crossing to hope”.

With every example comes a story, life testimonies that participants were happy to share with others and which allowed them to externalise their suffering.

As one community member said, “from now on, when I will meet another participant inside the camp I will smile and empathise with him because we shared something today“.