10th August 2020 | Chios, Greece
For young people living in Vial Refugee Camp, access to education is very limited. There are insufficient services available, and even fewer within walking distance of the camp, which is located eight kilometres from the town of Chios.
This is why we are incredibly excited to announce the opening of our new non-formal education centre, the Mastic Campus, together with our partner Be Aware And Share (BAAS). Mastic Campus opened its doors to students on July 6th. Since then, we have been welcoming 120 students, comprising of three male groups and one female group, six days a week. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the centre is currently running at a reduced capacity, but eventually, the new Campus will reach 300 young people per day, giving each student access to non-formal education and a safe space away from Vial Camp.
At Mastic Campus, all students have access to the centre three days a week. They attend English lessons, provided by our team of international and community teachers, who have been trained in context-appropriate teaching and youth work. Students also have the option to take part in workshops to learn new skills. Furthermore, they are plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces to relax, as well as shower facilities, Wi-Fi, a computer lab, a tailor shop, and a Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic.
“After three intense months of COVID-19 fears, isolation and restrictions, the Mastic Campus has finally been able to open," says Joanna Hudack, AFE Programme Coordinator, "Every day, students flood through the doors, motivated, ready to learn, happy to be there. Every day we hear how vital and valued the service is to them, and every day we learn new ways of working with and for this community”.
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Action for Education is a volunteer-run NGO working to provide non-formal education and a safe space for young people undergoing the asylum process in Greece. This is the third project AFE is currently running on Chios in response to the worsening conditions for refugees on the island. In addition to Mastic Campus, AFE runs a learning centre in partnership with METAdrasi, where students learn English and Greek; and a youth centre that offers a safe space for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18.