“What I would like to share from my experience during the Summer Activities for Refugees in YMCA of Thessaloniki, is about the issue of language. At first, the difficulty in communication makes you feel stressed and skeptical about what and if you have anything to offer in such a situation. You think you are not able to coordinate any activity but even when you do, you feel guilty about not being able to discuss about it and give children the space to express their selves and share their thoughts with you. When the interpreter is present, the situation is not better. While you think you understand their discussion, the translation comes to cancel anything you thought you understood!

Later on you start to realize that in a magic way the non verbal communication is much more essential and comprehensive. When you get over the stage of disappointment and the stage of struggling with your mind to find a way to communicate, things begin to flow like within another world that works in a different, non verbal way. In other words, when you leave your ‘linguistic structured’ thoughts behind, you can see everything becoming easier and more creative. 

In this world you perceive enthusiasm, joy, desire, disappointment, sadness, boredom in a direct way, compared to the verbal one. It is like all the emotions and thoughts are alive. You can see them in front of you and they challenge you to find new ways and tools to manage them.  So, after you overcome the stage of not having enough qualifications to handle it, the situation is transforming into a rich educational experience that asks you think and act in a completely different way. At the end of this progress you feel so creative…

And at this point the program comes to the end. At this moment, together with the new experiences, new concerns arise, that an outsider cannot realize. Those concerns are about the need and the possible ways of including these children in educationally appropriate programs with stability, long term goals and qualified educators.”