To ensure that children and adults fleeing violence have access to a good education,
by promoting collaboration and providing support and expertise to local organisations, teachers, and volunteers.
RefugeeEd began life after founder and primary school teacher Helen Brannigan had spent a year and a half in Greece working with education projects. After spending 9 months with Refugee Education Chios helping develop the newly opened primary school there, she went to the Greek mainland to see what was happening with education, and went on to work with a range of organisations in northern Greece and Athens.
She discovered numerous local organisations, each working relentlessly to adapt to the constantly changing refugee context. Every day can bring new arrivals and departures of people who access services, changes in local and governmental priorities and services, emergencies in the camp or community, and much more. People volunteering with these organisations have incredible stamina, compassion and commitment as they react to this emergency situation.
This can mean that it is challenging to put in place training, structures, and long-term strategies for education. Helen thought that there must be more that we could be done to support these organisations, by sharing experience, expertise and lessons learned.
Education offers so much to children and adults fleeting violence. Many adults are now waiting up to five years for an asylum interview in Greece, during which time they are not permitted to work. Education develops community, and offers purpose: something to work towards during this time in limbo. A language qualification can mean that people's qualifications have value in their new country, and that they are able to settle and communicate with those around them.
Many children have been out of school for years as they fled from conflict. Some have never been. It is so important that they are able to get back into education as soon as possible as they go through crucial stages of development. Education also provides stability and routine in a world of chaos and uncertainty. It offers a safe space where children can come every day, knowing what to expect and knowing that they will be valued and included.
Our work so far
We work with over 20 local organisations in Greece who are providing this vital education, mostly through volunteers. We support them by providing teaching guides and resources tailored to this unique context. We organise workshops and teacher training with experienced teachers. We match organisations with volunteer teachers. And we partner organisations with Education Specialists: experienced teachers who work intensively with an organisation to support their education work, through teacher training, mentoring and/or developing curriculums and procedures that organisations may not have time to implement themselves.
Since registering as a charity in 2018, we have matched 26 teachers and education specialists with organisations, and run 4 intensive teacher training programmes. We recruited our first field coordinator in August 2019. SInce then we have been able to provide more support to organisations and teachers, and have begun developing robust monitoring and evaluation systems, so we can really understand how we can make the greatest impact possible.
We have been adapting our activities in light of the changing COVID-19 crisis. Over lockdown we moved to supporting refugee education providers through online workshops and mentoring, and were overwhelmed with support from amazing, experienced educators across the world.
As programmes now return to offering classes on the ground we are carefully adapting our support, considering restrictions around required quarantines.
We are expanding our work so that we can support more local education organisations in Greece and beyond, by matching them with more education specialists and providing more workshops and training programmes.
Bringing communities together to harness the skills and talents of all.
Enabling lasting change by releasing human potential.
Always acting responsibly.
Field Coordinator, Greece
Education Networks Trustee
Human Resources Trustee