2020 has been a challenging year around the world. The global pandemic has shown us how fragile and uncertain life is, particularly for those in vulnerable situations.
In March, we watched as Greece went into lockdown. With a heavy heart, we closed our centres. Since then, the camps on Chios and Samos have hardly opened.
Our students have lost access to their support system outside the camp. They have been forced to live in an overcrowded and unsanitary place whilst leaders across the world call for social distancing. For months we have been forced to work remotely.
But determined to make the best of the situation, we used this time to learn and reevaluate our programmes. We moved lessons online and distributed worksheets, food and hygiene items. We increased support for our volunteers from the refugee community and invested in strengthening our teams on the ground.
In the face of these great challenges, we managed to open two new centres on Chios. These are long-term investments in creating learning opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. At the Mastic Campus, we integrate language classes with skill-based workshops and allow our participants to be part of a diverse and safe community. At The Hub, we've created a space for those living in the city and offer access to multi-levelled classes in computer skills.
Over the past months, our students and volunteers have faced adversity with courage. Even in such times, they remain the beating heart of Action for Education. Throughout the pandemic, no matter what, we committed to remaining on the ground, monitoring and responding in every way possible. This year, we’re not only continuing this but we’re going to be doing a lot more.
We’re proud of our approach, which has been developed over the past 3 years. Innovation, inclusivity, curiosity and a drive to challenge the status quo when we're not happy with how the system works, have brought us to where we are now.
As we reflect on 2020, we are grateful for the learning experiences we have had, for the people we have managed to connect with and for the support we have received.