Partner voices: Echo100Plus
Since 2019, we’ve been providing books to Echo100Plus to help reach refugees in Greece with the brand new book they need. Below you can hear from Gabriella, one of the founders of the organisation, who told us more about their vital work.
“We started in 2015 on the island of Leros because of the many arrivals of refugees then, and we thought we would be at this for a few months. Now it’s five years later and we are still going.
At the beginning, people were stuck for almost 2 years in the refugee camp, not knowing if they were going to get the right to even apply for asylum, all services were incredibly overwhelmed, so it was a humanitarian tragedy of a scale I’ve never seen before.
Over the last five years, lots of our projects have changed. We started with emergency services on the islands, then it grew and we opened hotspots, then we opened our first community integration centre to help people who are stuck for months.
We work with a combination of hired staff, teachers and volunteers to offer education classes and we also offer many extra-curricular activities because we felt that mental health is important to be able to even start studying or learning. The centres were created to help the people endlessly waiting to not become too depressed and to use the time as valuably as possible, no matter if they would actually be able to move onto the mainland and then maybe onwards to other European countries or be deported.
As well as offering language training in English and Greek, we also want to offer financial literacy courses – looking at things like how to rent an apartment or open a bank account, as well as pathways to higher education and vocational training, such as nursing and caregiving to the elderly. The need is enormous because other than one state-run integration programme for refugees everything else is run by grassroots or NGOs like us.”
In September 2019 we opened the second centre, where we actually have received the first donation of amazing books from you at Book Aid International. We have received 2,000 books and we have started to really build a lovely library with your help.
Thank you for helping us reach organisations like Echo100Plus with the brand new books their users need to change their lives, every £2 we receive helps to send another book.