Being a Volunteer in one of our projects is an unforgettable experience in which many of us cherish memories forever. Most of our volunteers have accommodation in one of the villages near the camp. In every camp, there are differences in the living environment and projects. The connection which is created between the volunteers and people in the camps becomes stronger by the day through the power of volleyball.
In Ioannina, in the Katsikas camp, the volunteers room together in one big communal room versus in Ioannina many of the Volunteers have their own apartment room. The costs of living are low and the food and housing are mostly provided for. Many of our volunteers get free time on their weekends which allows for some sightseeing or a day off.
In Lesbos, volunteers live together and have a daily schedule. Eurorelief and CRR are still active inside the refugee camps on Lesbos and Samos. For example in Lesbos, many refugees work with CRR. Another organisation that focuses on sports for development. As an LKTBF volunteer, your work involves operating with the volleyball program.
Most of the weekend days are off work. You have the opportunity to explore the beautiful island of Lesbos. You can go by car to some of the local towns in the west and north part of the island. But you can also use the bike to discover the surroundings and nature.
Even closer to the camp, you can visit Mytilini, the capital of Lesbos, or relax at one of the beaches. Within both of the camps, there is a lot of socializing between the volunteers. On the weekends they plan activities together such as trips, dinners, and sports.
Opportunities for Activities
Within the camp, there are many opportunities to realize ideas or goals that the volunteers have. There is always space in which they can take initiative and execute an idea. Fingerprints Guus and Hélène have planned picnics, dinners, and other activities besides Volleyball to bring the group closer together and create a close-knit community.
"The Volunteers become active members of the community during their time there and drive for change in the people in the refugee camp."
Tasks also include maintenance and distribution of non-food items like clothes and hygiene products. After meeting with your task coordinator, you go into the camp to start your work.
"Many of the individuals always want to play volleyball. It is hard to find people who are open to the idea of wanting to become a coach themselves."
The goal of the volunteers is to develop teachers and coaches. Instead of being a short-term contact person for the people in the camps, they are hoping to create a more sustainable way for the refugees to be involved and develop. However, this brings many challenges because many people are new to the idea of coaching, which brings some resistance.
"It is easy to forget this goal sometimes because you automatically want to step into the role of the coach yourself, but you have to remember that the focus is to develop and help others to become coaches."
Some of the cultural challenges that many volunteers notice is the speed of life. Fingerprints Guus and Hélène have found that in the morning there is a lot of free time and the activities are often in the afternoon and continue until the late evening until the sun goes down.
Hélene said that when they wanted to schedule our first training at 2 pm, a lot of the times people would show up an hour or so later. People there don't have a very structured day, which was quite hard to adjust to at the start.
You will eat lunch in the camp, eating your sandwiches or some of the many different available foods cooked by inhabitants of the camp. During the day, there is an opportunity to visit people for a cup of tea, or a chat with players of your volleyball sessions.
However, inside the camp, it is not about doing your work, but about being there for people and listening to them. The love and warmth of other volunteers are too beautiful to describe.
"To inform someone that she will receive her ID, and after four years, will be reunited with her family is absolutely unforgettable."
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