In addition to learning English, the center provides other subjects and workshops. Whenever specialized volunteers are available and there are opportunities during summer breaks, we hold different short-term workshops, such as art, science, computer classes and typing, as well as photography.
Thanks to these specialized volunteers, students diversify their learning and expand their knowledge, as well as experiencing unknown fields which can help them discover new talents and skills.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken
I had the privilege of conducting a two week’s long art workshop at Habibi Center this July with 4 wonderful students. In advance I’ve had the proverb “Alone we go faster, together we go further” in my head for a common theme for the workshop and planned a program around it.
Visual art is often thought to be something quite private or at least something that you do alone, only to share the final results with others. However, I wanted to challenge that. I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if the students collaborated with each other and combined their strengths. We began gently by preparing the ground: getting to know everyone and making several portraits of each other and of ourselves. It was fun, rather easy and nice. But then came the toughest part: creating a mural together in one of Habibi Center’s classrooms. Exciting, a little bit scary for sure, and extremely frustrating at times! It was frustrating to just talk and not do any art at all at first. I It was difficult to find a common theme, decide on details such as colours, will there be text or not, who does what and so on…insisted that everyone’s handprint had to be seen in the mural. Everyone’s effort was required for a successful result. Even though we made a plan together, it was still difficult to let others continue and possibly do something differently than you had thought in your mind. It was also difficult to believe in your own ideas and capacities, think what if you fail and everybody will see it on the wall! Having grace, being brave, and believing in yourself became our new themes while working with the mural, as well as accepting some imperfection, after all, beauty does not equal perfection.
Slowly, working together became easier, and at the end the mural came out beautifully, showcasing everybody’s handprint and effort. I am extremely proud of the students’ work, and I hope they’ll keep on remembering our new theme while continuing their lives on. Likewise I hope the mural will inspire new students to believe in themselves.”
– Anne (Art Teacher)
‘Unfortunately, women are up to four times more likely to be the target of harassment and attacks than men. Being aware of your surroundings and projecting self-confidence are the best ways to avoid being the target of an attack. But knowing how to ward off and escape an attack helps give this self-confidence and these are critical skills for every woman to have.’
– Matt Simmons (Self-Defense Instructor)
An Easter maths workshop was a great addition to what the Habibi center offers students.
“For some, it was an important introduction to essentials such as percentages and decimals. Some students hadn’t studied these things for several years, and it was great to see understanding come back. Of course, many people will never really enjoy maths, but I think everyone had at least a moment of satisfaction having solved a problem.
For a separate group, the workshop provided individual attention and a careful English language explanation of maths covered at Greek schools. It highlighted the inadequate adjustments made in Greek schools for non-Greek-speaking students with disrupted schooling. I think their confidence was really boosted as they understood what was written in their school books. I hope we can do similar things in the future to help students keep pace with maths taught in Greek and maintain interest in an essential subject.”
– Matthew (Maths Teacher)
“Theatre is a powerful method of telling stories. One that connects the performer with the audience and has the capacity to bring new life even to familiar narratives. Theatre can also help bring clarity to the nuances involved in communicating with English speakers, instilling confidence in proud people brave enough to seek a fresh start, a better life, and a new home. It also gives students a chance to tell stories that are meaningful to them – inspiring stories that give new perspectives and create empathy.
The six-week workshop began by focusing on getting to know and trust one another, which will allow us to open up and participate in theatrical activities designed to help refugees more fully express themselves. As we built trust and let our walls down, we focused on stories or situations that the students resonated with and provided the audience with a glimpse into the life of refugees”.
The workshop culminated in a wonderful public performance of a play written by the students using these stories called: REVELATIONS.
– Adam and Windy Desmond (Theater Teachers)
No matter your background, embarking on the job search can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. This workshop provided the basics for Habibi Center students to start looking for work including creating their resumés, thinking about their future, using job sites, balancing their time, and practicing for interviews. By the end of the four-week workshop, students displayed more confidence in how to talk about themselves and their experiences and how to apply this to various skills they will use in the workplace. Many of the students have bigger dreams that involve helping the community and caring for people and are excited they now have a strong starting foundation.