Athens February 2018
A group of 6 of us volunteers went to Athens, returning to 5th School Squat and this time, with more hands-on-deck, we began working at 2nd School Squat too. 2nd School is another of Kastro’s squats, ran by an amazing refugee, Samir, who acts as the voice of the squat. 2nd school is an old school building turned into temporary accommodation, so even though our resources may have been limited, by working in a disused art room, we were not short of space allowing our projects freedom to take over the space!
Every morning, we’d arrive at 5th School and while 4 volunteers set up the art supplies, Amir and Patrick played football with the kids in an attempt to tiresome of their perpetual energy!
After the game, they’d all wander into the classroom, eager to start the art for the day. Some wore attentively to their own work while others collaborate and freely express themselves through their work.
We would clear up, take our quick lunch break and head to 2nd School, where we would spend our afternoons. Working on t-shirt stencilling, painting, drawing, jewellery making, as well Amir’s fantastic initiative of growing cress their own painted plant pots. The kids would water the cress each day and compare their growth day by day.
Similar to the trip prior to this, we ended the workshops by painting a mural in 2nd Squat. Working with the adults from the squat to measure and stencil the pattern. On the day, arriving laden with paint, we were met with many kids and adults all eager to help! It was an amazing 2 days of painting, music and laughter. Rounding off our week's workshops with mural painting is always cathartic and it’s nice to be able to leave a somewhere a bit brighter than it was before.
I think art is one of the best tools for solidarity.
Sharing skills creates unity and understanding.
The process is very therapeutic.
I wanted to take part in AIT’s trip to Athens because it’s a great cause. The refugee children often don’t go to school so doing the art workshops with children is very rewarding as it gives them opportunities to explore their creativity.