Who are we?
Habibi Center is a non-formal educational project carried out in Greece. It started running the last 8th of August 2016 as an independent project. Nevertheless, after 2 years of short term planning due to the unpredictable evolution of the crisis, the project have decided to give itself more stability, credibility and a longer term planning as we believe that there will be still a large amount of youth needing our help for the next months. Therefore, since November 2018, the project has been officially registered in Spain under the name ‘Asociación Española Habibi Center’.
Who is the project addressed to?
Habibi Center is addressed to young and vulnerable refugees ranging from 13 to 19 years old and from all different nationalities – such as Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, Kurdish, Pakistanis, and some others – who have been forced to leave their countries of origin and have to stay in Greece for a definite or indefinite time.
What does the project offer?
Firstly, make clear that the aim of Habibi Center is not to merely offer functional learning skills but, most importantly, to encourage a safe and pleasant interracial atmosphere where the students are able to learn to respect each other and to work together with others from different nationalities, ethnicities and religions, making possible a reconciliation among communities that have been suffering conflicts for a long time.
Coming into the scholar side, Habibi Center currently focuses on English lessons – from completely illiterate beginners to CEFR B2 level. The main scholar aim is to see a consistent evolution of the students to be able to prepare them for official Cambridge English exams, such as KET, PET, and FCE. Habibi Center sees in these exams several positive facts for the students, not only due to the importance of acquiring the certificates but far more significantly to a personal change with a hugely increased sense of responsibility and maturity.
Moreover, Maths is also provided for all the students keen to increase their knowledge, through uploaded material within the Habibi Center Virtual School. In addition, other short-term activities such as fine art, drama, geography and environmental science, photography, and writing skills are carried out subject to specialised volunteers’ availability.
Finally, the so-called Habibi Center Virtual School, running since March 2017, massively helps the daily on-side classes in several ways. It makes possible a communication with students if there is a sudden relocation and, hence, gives them the opportunity to continue studying English until they start a new school in their new location. It is also helpful for the students who attend school daily as it provides them with more autonomy to do their homework and other activities previously done in class.
Habibi Center is also working on the idea of providing a preparation of International GED Tests for specific students that, due to special circumstances such as age, cannot attend official Greek schools and obtain the high school diploma.
How is the project funded?
Since its beginnings, Habibi Center has been solely funded by economic and material donations made by small support groups and individual people such as volunteers’ families and friends. Nevertheless, if the project finds it beneficial, it would contemplate the possibility of getting help from any institution or organisation as long as they match the same values and principles of Habibi Center.