International Programmes Office of Metropolitan College welcomed students from Arizona State University, USA on a two-week-long faculty-led programme. The students have completed a semester-long internship with a refugee organization in Phoenix, Arizona prior to arriving in Greece, working directly with refugees living locally.
Many of these students will be graduate students in the MA in Social Justice and Human Rights, so they have a good deal of knowledge and experience in a social issues background. Some are undergraduates looking to pursue this track. The graduate students’ programmes are subsidised by a private donor. The donor funds their work with vulnerable adults and children, in this case asylum applicants. The donor has a particular concern for assistance to people subjected to gender-based violence along smuggling routes or after arrival abroad.
In this regard, all the student interns have daily contact assisting or interacting generally with asylum applicants. What often facilitates such daily interaction is internship work and play with asylum applicants in residential settings, such as residences, urban camps (legal ones) and other living situations for asylum applicants. During the programme, the student interns attended an orientation session at Metropolitan College Downtown Campus. They were then received by Lefteris Papagiannakis, Vice-Mayor of Athens for Migration & Refugees at the Athens City Hall, where they joined in an inspiring debate about the municipality’s actions in dealing with refugee and migrant issues. They all enjoyed dinner at a traditional Greek restaurant in Plaka.
The NGO’s involved in the programme are SOLIDARITY NOW and MELISSA Network.
Solidarity Now consists of a network of people and organizations whose goal is to assist and support those most affected by the economic and humanitarian crises in Greece. Through the provision of services to both the local Greek and migrant populations, they seek to restore the vision of a strong Europe based on solidarity and open values.
Melissa Network: A hive built by migrant women
When hundreds of refugees camped out in Athens in 2015, the women’s organization Melissa Network found itself at the forefront of the crisis. It has grown to become a thriving space for the empowerment of refugee women.
The whole programme was set up and coordinated by the International Programmes Office of Metropolitan College.
A life- changing experience for all of us!