Hundreds of calories burnt, buckets of sweat, six individuals, a couple of sports and one major aim; that of helping out – I present you ‘Omáda goes to Greece’ 2018!
As the refugee crisis intensifies in the Mediterranean basin we find ourselves helplessly witnessing the tragedy of lives lost at sea, of families torn apart as death snatches away people, indiscriminate of gender, religion, race or age. Unfortunately, given the frequency of such events, we run the risk of turning into passive spectators, normalizing the images and becoming paralyzed by the overwhelming feeling of not being able to make a difference.
But agara we think otherwise. We might be unable to change the grander scheme of things but we have the ability of bringing some relief to people on a more individual level. This is the key driver for six of us, who at the end of August will be embarking on a two week trip to Greece, whereby we will be assisting in a refugee camp; attempting to bring some respite to various refugees who have reached Greece by sea or on foot.
In collaboration with an NGO already established on the field (IAMYOU) our team will be providing various sporting activities to various groups of refugees residing in the camp. We believe that sports can be one way of developing community, a way to bridge diversities and bring people together. Through sports we believe we can bring social cohesion; also being a reflection of our team’s name; Omáda, which in Greek stands for group, squad an
During our stay we will organise sports and physical activities for the children who will already be involved in a summer school organized by the aforementioned NGO, with the aim of imparting them with valuable life skills. We also plan to provide varied sports, including football, boxing and netball to the adult migrants and young unaccompanied refugees who given their situation, often end up with loads of idle and waiting time. Given their delicate situations such time might lead to a vicious circle of waiting, over thinking and despairing. Hence, by providing them with activities which they themselves ask for, might help to keep them busy, occupied and help in keeping their mind off their troubles, at least for a little while. Moreover we plan of training a group of adult refugees in particular sports, which in turn they will be able to coach younger ones in their community once we leave the camp. This reaches our main aim of empowering individuals, whilst making sure that the project is sustainable and is carried on even in our absence. We believe in sustainable volunteering; hence it is imperative that the project can stand alone once we leave.
We hope of providing the camp with the necessary equipment and skills, which in turn the refugee community can adopt, adapt and continue to cultivate, making the porgramme their own. Therefore as we prepare to work within such camp we hope of being the catalysts; the small pebble thrown in a pond which in time will form greater ripples in their community.
Written by :
Maria Giulia Pace – Omáda team member