The «Culture Lab» – open every weekday.
1.THE LENDING LIBRARY
The library contains more than 5,000 children’s books –with numbers continually increasing thanks to purchases and donations – plus 40 tablets and numerous board games. It has more than 1600 child-members. The book collection includes more than 100 bilingual volumes (English-Farsi, English-Arabic) as well as books for parents, teachers and Network volunteers who run the creative groups.
The library accepts requests from schools for borrowing books and purchasing of new titles, as well as for thematic bibliographies and learning materials which are essential for the educational needs of the 25 neighbourhood schools, with which the Network works closely at local level.
The Library organises two annual campaigns, one for the Rights of the Child in November and the other for Children’s Books in April, as well as numerous events with authors and illustrators, museum, theatre and cinema visits, outings and recreational meetings. It also arranges Greek and English lessons for small groups of children or adults and runs classes for teaching mother tongues such as Albanian and Arabic.
During June and July it runs a summer schedule of reading groups.
2. CREATIVE GROUPS
The weekly creative groups are run by volunteers and are attended by any number between 6 and 15 children.
Each year there are about 20 groups which cover a vast range of subjects: music, architecture and urban planning, arts and crafts, theatre and cinema, tablets, photography, public speaking, animation, 3D printing, tai-chi, foreign languages etc. The only restrictions are the availability of our volunteers and the enthusiasm of the children.
3. LEARNING SUPPORT GROUPS
Learning support is provided for children who wish to overcome problems at school or at home and who require additional assistance. Volunteer teachers run small groups of just 2-3 children and cater to pupils at both primary and secondary level.
Educational programmes for schools
4. MOBILE LIBRARY
The Mobile Library is a temporary library that gives children the opportunity to visit the wonderful and exciting world of books and to take part in educational programmes either at the Culture Lab, in their classroom or in some other space (a square, a schoolyard, a public garden or a playground). The Mobile Library can open for just a few hours, for a whole day, or even several days. It is easy to transport and erect and requires about 25 square metres of space. Its books are grouped according to subject and it also contains educational games related to children’s rights, puzzles, board games, floor games etc.
5. YOUNG READERS IN THE WORLD OF BOOKS
This is an educational programme aimed at young readers of primary school age. Through an experiential workshop, children will familiarise themselves with children’s books and their various categories, such as fiction, history and reference. They will subsequently learn how to identify the basic components of a book and will be given the opportunity to browse through publishers’ catalogues. They can then select books and suggest to the library that it acquires them.
6. HOW MANY FOREIGNERS CAN YOU COUNT AMONG US?
This is an educational programme for children that aims to highlight concerns and experiences relating to ‘Otherness’ by addressing issues of identity, values and emotions and acknowledging differences. Within a socially and culturally diverse environment based on the principles of equality and respect for the rights of others, the programme suggests how to combat fear, isolation, belittlement and racism.
7. THE CHILD-CITIZEN
This is an educational programme for children that aims to show them what being a citizen in a modern democracy entails and what acting responsibly towards society means. This is achieved through simple activities, information, various publications, role-play and participant observation.
8. «OPEN SESAME TO THE MAGICAL WORLD OF THE TABLET»
This is a programme that demonstrates how tablets form part of the education process, how they can be used for research and information, for processing facts and as a means of socialisation and communication. The group works as a team to enable children to acquire basic knowledge and skills in order to take advantage of the wealth offered by the digital world.
Social support programmes
9. EACH CHILD UNIQUE – CHILDREN IN DANGER
The aim of this programme is to provide multifaceted support to particularly vulnerable children who are under exceptional pressure as a result of harsh living conditions and additional aggravating factors (such as poverty, serious health issues, unemployment, substance abuse, parental mental illness etc).
10. SUNDAY LUNCH
The aim of this programme is to offer a place for people to meet and enjoy a Sunday lunch provided by some of the Network’s volunteers. It is designed for single parent families who find it difficult or even impossible to partake in the classic family lunch that other families enjoy. Additionally, the Network encourages the single parents to become actively involved by taking turns to help with the cooking and also to take part in Sunday morning recreational and educational activities for their children and themselves.
Embracing the community
11. «StrArt» – «We are the City»
A new painting and photography exhibition is being planned by some of the creative groups, the art workshop and the painting and photography workshop. The children work on subjects that help them see their own neighbourhood and the entire city as living organisms. Children thus acquire a better knowledge of public spaces, they learn the history and present-day use and function of buildings, they gain an understanding of how areas change, they observe the flow of people who live there and the languages spoken. The aim this year is for the exhibition, which displays the children’s work in public and municipal spaces, educational institutions, schools and cultural organisations, to be seen beyond the immediate neighbourhood in order to spread the message to more people.
The social and political stakes of children’s rights
12. SCIENTIFIC TEAM FOR RIGHTS
This is an attempt at collective investigation into the theoretical and legal issues and political initiatives that concern children’s rights in Greece. Its purpose is to highlight and attempt to solve major problems in collaboration with educators, state and private institutions, foundations, non-profit organisations and associations, and European and Greek networks. As part of its brief, the team will work on the alternative report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Greece, which it will compile and present to the UN Commission.
13. “WE ARE HERE TOO!”
This is an educational programme that will attempt to use the art of filmmaking as a means of highlighting children’s rights.
The children will write their own script, discover the art of filmmaking and express their rights. The aim of the programme is to introduce children to the world of the cinema and to show them how films are made, from the initial script to the final editing. At the same time, it will inform them of their rights.
The Network’s children will be guided by experienced directors, cinematographers, film editors, script writers etc. and will produce their own short film which will be a visual portrayal of their rights. The articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child will serve as their source of inspiration, the children will decide which ones to use in their film and they will work on them with the help of the programme’s coordinators.
The children will work as a team under the supervision of the coordinators and they will be given the opportunity to work either in front or behind the camera as actors, extras, cameramen or members of the production team, depending on what interests them most.
The children will use professional equipment and with the help of the filmmakers, they will create the short film that will eventually become the basic tool of an educational programme to be presented to all schools in Attica.
At the end of the educational programme the pupils and their teachers will be invited to work with both the film and the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child, so that they too can use a variety of narrative techniques in order to tell their own stories that will have their rights as the basic subject matter.
Once submitted, the scripts will be judged by a review committee comprised of film professionals and representatives of the Network for Children’s Rights. The five best scripts will be chosen to become advertising spots for a television and online campaign for children’s rights.
14 “ SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES”
The catalogue of children’s books on the rights of the child and diversity, entitled “Seeing the World Through Different Eyes”, will be updated and reprinted. A group of volunteers will undertake to comb libraries, publishing houses etc. for any relevant books which they will then read in order to update and expand the catalogue which was first circulated by the Network in 2010.
Seminars for parents
15. SEMINAR FOR PARENTS OF 0-5 YEAR-OLDS
The aim of this seminar is to help new parents acquire basic information about their child’s development and their interaction with other family members. It also informs them about what services and benefits they are entitled to and strengthens their ability to understand and deal with their child’s needs.
16. SEMINAR FOR PARENTS WITH PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN
The aim of this informative and experiential workshop is to help parents reinforce their roles and skills and to support them in any difficulties they may face. There will be discussions on various issues that trouble parents and test their relationship with their children.
17. SEMINAR FOR PARENTS ON BULLYING
This seminar is designed to reveal the roots of aggression and violent behaviour so that the problem may be dealt with promptly. It is aimed at parent associations, employees of companies that have corporate social responsibility programmes and to parents with a more general interest.
18. 20th NOVEMBER – INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S RIGHTS DAY
The campaign takes place in conjunction with International Children’s Rights Day. It lasts throughout the whole of November and is a collaborative effort on the part of more than 50 institutions and organisations. These include the Central Municipal Library, the Greek section of the IBBY, museums, publishing houses, schools, NGOs and local libraries. Dozens of events, educational programmes, one-day conferences, and seminars take place throughout the month, organised by the various participants, who also produce radio and television advertising spots, posters and pamphlets.
19. APRIL 2018 – BOOK MONTH
The campaign takes place in conjunction with International Children’s Book Day on April 2nd. It lasts for the entire month and is a joint effort with dozens of fellow institutions and organisations (see above). The campaign includes similar activities and advertising campaings to those listed above.
Support of friends
20. I SUPPORT
A single organisation (it can be a cultural body, a company, a bank, a museum, a foundation or a publisher) offers one month’s support to the Network through initiatives and events of its own choice. It might organise a collection of books, toys or food, offer free tickets to a show, its employees can offer their time as volunteers, it might fund one of the Network’s programmes or seminars, organise a one-day conference or event, or arrange a cultural visit.
21. SHOOL SUPPORT FOR THE NETWORK
The Network works with schools all over the country in order to develop common programmes and initatives for collective action, solidarity, communication and the exchange of ideas and experiences. To this end, a series of activities and joint events are organised, such as donations of books to the Network’s lending library, school visits to the Culture Lab, educational programmes, parallel seminars for parents and children, the collection of school equipment for the Network’s young members and so on.
Activities for socialisation and recreation
22. MEETINGS ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN
These meetings involve lawyers, paediatricians and other appropriate experts, children’s authors, artists, honourary volunteers of the Network, as well as heads of cultural bodies and organisations. Their objective is to carry out in-depth examinations of the more delicate rights, formulate proposals towards the State and other responsible authorities, publicise, promote and draw public awareness to them.
23. EVENTS, MUSEUMS, VISITS, OUTINGS
A series of guided tours, museum visits, concerts, film screenings and outings, updated monthly, will allow children to take part in activities that lead to greater socialisation and encourage them to become more outward-looking, while providing knowledge, recreation and inspiration.
24. THE NETWORK IS CONCERNED
The work and proposals of the Network’s volunteer experts are introduced to a wider audience through a series of public debates. Within the context of social and human sciences they focus on matters of culture, education, psychology, architecture and more, leading to a broader discussion of various concerns and the exchange of ideas.
The «Network» at the Solidarity Centre of the Municipality of Athens and at the Urban Health Centre at Sarantaporou Street.
Centre for the Child
The Network runs The Centre for the Child in two separate locations. The first is part of the Solidarity Centre, housed in the old garrison headquarters of the Municipality of Athens (first floor, 2 Domokou St, opposite Larissa Railway Station), and the second is part of the Urban Health Centre at 4 Sarantoporou St . They provide an on-site educationalist, social worker and psychologist and all children, regardless of gender, race, nationality, colour or religion, are welcome. Both Centres support and promote the rights of children through their individual and group cultural programmes. They provide open spaces for creative and educational activities with free entrance, while the weekly schedule includes experiential and interactive activities for parents and children: Educational/creative groups for pre-school children * Individual educational/creative programmes for schoolchildren * Group educational/creative programmes for schoolchildren *Learning support for schoolchildren *Meetings for parents and children as part of Lifelong Learning * Group psychological support for children *Paediatric advice for parents and children *Provision of social services (referals, communication and intervention by other authorities for social support) * Greek and Arabic language groups *Meetings with educationists about school-related matters * Discussions with specialists (paediatricians, gynaecologists, educationalists etc) *Public debates about the rights of children *Educational and recreational events * Donations of food and clothing to needy families. In collaboration and conjunction with state and local government services, as well as other non-profit organisations the Network offers information, encouragement and support for the specific needs of any given child.
The «Network» at Traiber
THE NETWORK AT 8 TRAIBER SQUARE
The Traiber centre is yet another of the Network’s spaces in the area around Larissa Railway Station. It houses part of the Lending Library and the Centre for Creative Activities which runs morning programmes for pre-school and primary school children. The afternoon programmes for youths and teenagers (13-20 year-olds) also take place here and are run in conjunction with a broad range of supportive activities of a cultural and psychosocial nature designed to enable the young people gradually to take control themselves. Mentoring-befriending is the guiding principle. The centre welcomes all youths without discrimination, while special provision is made for those that are in danger of marginalisation or exclusion, for unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees. The mentor-befriender system allows for the building of trust, the development of skills and the creation of friendships, both on an individual and a group basis. It offers support, training, employment advice and socialisation, all within a conducive and secure environment. A group of specialist professionals and volunteers –educators, youth workers, social scientists, social workers, fitness instructors, psychologists and artists – is on hand to offer support. The young members take part in creative groups, they take collective initiatives of a social and cultural nature, are encouraged to continue their education, are given information and encouraged to interact and communicate with other youth groups. The «Network at Traiber» is a major step towards the Network’s goal of establishing a flexible and complementary socio-cultural network, that can respond to the specific needs of children and their families at any given time. The aim is to be able to expand the network without creating an excessively large centre, with each component having relative autonomy and its own separate focus (in relation to population, age-groups, gender, activities etc).
Intervening for child refugees
27. CASE MANAGEMENT IN REFUGEE RECEPTION CENTRES AND THE MOBILE LIBRARY
The Network has been responding to the demands of the humanitarian crisis of the last few years by providing psycho-social and legal support for children and their parents living in refugee reception centres. At the same time it sends the Network’s mobile library (which normally visits squares, schools etc) to the centres, using it to devise and implement recreational and educational programmes for children.
*Funded by the UN High Commission for Refugees
28. «MIGRATORY BIRDS» NEWSPAPER – WEBRADIO «DANDELION”
The Network is continuing and widening its activities, begun in November 2016, at the Schisto Refugee Reception Centre with the publication of a newspaper («Migratory Birds») and the production of internet radio broadcasts (Webradio “Dandelion” ).
Refugee, immigrant and Greek youths produce their own newspaper and their own radio shows with encouragement and support by the Network. The broadcasts are heard via the internet platform European School Radio, while the newspaper appears about every two months as a supplement to the Efimerida ton Sintakton. Both the paper and the broadcast are part of the Network’s attempt to stimulate young people, reinforce their skills and encourage them to express themselves freely. In addition, it hopes to bridge the gap between those that live inside the reception centres and the Greek reality outside.
Both newspaper and radio show are the result of collaboration with UNICEF and are now produced in four languages (Greek, Farsi, Arabic and English) while youngsters that speak Urdu will shortly be joining the group.
In more specific terms, the idea behind the newspaper and the web radio show is *to strengthen the sense of community and create dialogue within the refugee reception centres, while preparing the inhabitants for communication with the outside world *to instruct and inform young people about European and Greek social and cultural life *to enable their socialisation and free expression through participation in meetings, discussions and outings (for social, cultural, sporting or artistic purposes) together with Greeks *to begin the integration process through communication and contact with their Greek peers and mutual interest groups * to fight against xenophobia and racism.
Mundial is a new proposal by the Network that uses football to sensitise people to the immigration issue and also to encourage the inclusion of child refugees. The aim is to take advantage of the Network’s relationship with the teaching community and its experience in organising a variety of sports activities. On the occasion of the World Cup, (summer 2018 in Russia), there will be visits to schools as well as a football tournament in which schools (both Greek and foreign) and child refugees will take part. This action will bring children of a various nationalities together through dialogue and football meetings.
Objectives: to include refugees, to introduce the meaning of diversity, to fight against xenophobia and racism and enjoy a good game of football!