Our community centre
Refugees living in the camp on Samos are compelled to wait for the answer to their asylum application for months to years on end, while living in the most dreadful circumstances you could imagine. The Alpha Centre is our community centre, just down the road from the refugee camp on Samos. The centre is run for refugees and with refugees. Together, we try to provide all the women and men from the camp with a space where they can forget about the daily reality in the camp, where they can relax, and where they can feel human again. Dignity, humanity and respect are our main pillars, and our work here is crucial: The Alpha Centre is the only place on Samos where adults from the camp can find peace and comfort, where they are given a hand and a smile, and where their names are learned and remembered. People get the opportunity to sit back and relax, chat to friends in the comfort of a safe space, or play a challenging game of chess or scrabble, all while enjoying a warm cup of tea.
Adult informal education
In Alpha, we are providing classes in English, French, German, and Greek language. Students start in the basic class, and have the opportunity to progress up through 5 different levels. Many have even been awarded an English language Certificate, after sitting the Pearson exam. This is really great for their CV's, and integration to European life. We also have a separate women-only English class, for those not comfortable studying with men.
There is a larger number of men than women living in the camp up the hill, so the majority of visitors we get at the Alpha Centre are male. But on Saturday afternoons we transform Alpha into a safe space for women and their small children, enabling them to make use of the building that is usually dominated by men. Cooking, dancing, art, crochet, massage and more; the ladies can get comfortable, chat freely and enjoy a cup of tea.
We run advanced and beginner music classes throughout the week so our students can learn guitar and keyboard. Art classes are running three times a week, and range from still life drawing, to oil painting, to sculpture. Following a generous donation of laptops to SV, we have been able to set-up computer classes; a class highly requested by the refugees and asylum-seekers regularly coming to Alpha.
Twice a week in the basement we have a breakdance class run by one of our community volunteers. We also run relaxation sessions four times a week, which were set up by a visiting psychotherapist, and combine meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. Every weekday evening, two of our community volunteers run a fitness session in the basement - a hardcore session which promises abs in six weeks!!