Habibi Center has changed a lot since its beginnings and adapted itself to the necessity of its students. All above these needed reorganisations and adaptations to the new reality and challenges are the following project’s strong principles.
COVERING A NECESSITY
Habibi Center exists merely since there is a crucial necessity to cover. It is not operating either to sell any type of educational product or to get renown. Actually, its wishes are to have never existed as the service the project has been providing since August 2016 should have been appropriately covered by other powerful institutions which each European person pays taxes to. Therefore, as long as the situation does not improve, the project will continue providing this vulnerable youth with a safe space and education until the centre is no longer needed.
TACKLING ISSUES AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
There are some issues in this migratory crisis that should not take an excessive amount of time to be tackled. One of them is the education of the young refugees. Many of the students attending the centre, despite being 14 or 15 years old, have already in mind the clear idea of becoming a respected and successful person in their new life in Europe. There is no time to waste since their ambitious plans might rapidly drift, due to their vulnerable situation, and drive them into the wrong side. The project does not want to see new generations been dependant on support from governments or other organisations, but genuine, independent and powerful human beings positively contributing to society.
WORKING AS INDEPENDENTLY AS POSSIBLE
Habibi Center likes working as independently as possible. One of the reasons is to be able to tackle current and incoming issues quickly, as explained above. The project does not want to miss a single second to help its youth achieve their ambitious goals. Therefore, the project prefers to rely on close friends, family and small groups, who are completely aware of the crisis and personally know Habibi Center or its volunteers, in order to get enough financial and moral support to run the centre. By doing this, the project would like to avoid applying for other grants from governmental institutions with the everlasting bureaucratic processes that could slow down and disrupt several plans. 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.
DEALING WITH INDIVIDUALS
Since the start of this migratory crisis in Greece, its reality and severity might have been sometimes a bit distorted. Media and society usually refers to the migrants as numbers. However, the project sees its youth as truly individuals – each of them with a unique and special need, each of them with a different story and personality behind, each of them with different dreams. Therefore, Habibi Center has always worked for them – alongside the consent of their relatives or social workers and guardians if they are minors – thinking only about their very personal best, and not for the benefit of third parts.
THE MORE DIVERSITY, THE BETTER
The project has worked since its beginnings to build a healthy and safe space where youth from any gender, country of origin, religion, and ethnic could take advantage. Throughout its history, the project has experienced several proposals from other parts in order to provide lessons only to a specific group of students. However, those suggestions have been always declined since Habibi Center does strongly believe that a huge part of the education and personal development of these youth can be only achieved if they live together and share time and experiences in a diverse atmosphere.
CREATING A FAMILY
It is extremely difficult for students to start to focus on their education when they do not have a minimum stability in their daily life and do not feel welcomed and safe in a place. That is the reason why Habibi Center puts a huge effort in trying to create a strong and healthy environment between students and teachers. CONFIDENCE plays a key role to help achieve that goal in any friendly and stable environment, thus the project puts even more emphasis in this aspect since some students have not had yet the opportunity of developing confidence with any other person in their entire lives. Therefore, Habibi Center sees appropriate to provide them with long-term stability and structure in order to build up close relationships so that they can feel part of a family. In addition, as in each home, behaviour must be appropriate and respectful. By creating a strong core of long-term students able to show what the expected behaviour is, new students quickly understand how they must behave in order to be accepted in the family.
MOTIVATING YOUTH THROUGH ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE
Once the students feel integrated into their new family, the learning and development of any academic subject becomes way easier. Habibi Center’s main activity is the learning of English language. If the learning of a new language is always tough and a long-term challenge per se, it becomes even more laboured when Habibi Center is actually the very first educational experience for some of the students.
The project gives a lot of importance to MOTIVATION. In order to build motivation and keep it up, the project follows several key aspects: Firstly, the teaching organisation is made in a way that does not matter if one teacher must leave, as the next one will continue from the exact point the previous teacher finished, hence providing a structured, consistent and gradual learning. Secondly, classes should be formed by students with similar levels in order to create a healthy competition and avoid anyone feeling lost – if having a lower level –, or bored – if having a higher level. Next, it is crucial for the students to attend the lessons from Monday to Friday, be punctual, and do homework when requested, as only by doing that the entire class can keep the same pace and continue progressing. Last but not least, Habibi Center gives the opportunity to the long-term students of taking Cambridge Exams in English Language. As well as achieving official certificates that will help them in several ways, these exams often help them realise how hard they need to keep pushing to achieve goals in life and how powerful they can become if they really devote their time and effort to studying.
It is not easy these days to trust charity organisations due to several scandals and dark businesses hidden behind some of them. As mentioned above, Habibi Center has luckily got since its beginnings the support of friends, family and small groups. That, instead, does not make the members of the project be more relaxed, but to have the huge responsibility of facing the consequences of dealing with the money and, even more important, the hope of those people.
Not only the people in charge of the project and the teachers have huge responsibility, but also the students. The teachers who are in direct contact with them in Greece are totally aware of their vulnerable psychological state. Nevertheless, the project believes that it is not the best educational approach that they think that the service Habibi Center is giving them is totally free. It is normal that a great amount of them have taken for granted that Europe must provide them with everything without giving anything in exchange. However, that impression must change before they become adults and realise that it is not true. Obviously, the project does not ask students for money. Instead, they have the responsibility of thanking both teachers and everybody else supporting Habibi Center in the distance through respect, effort and commitment.