Refugee Trauma Initiative
Greek and refugee youth face many challenges building their futures, including a lack of learning and work opportunities. Dinami brings these two communities together through expressive, vocational, and sports projects (e.g. filmmaking, photography, jewelry-making, football, and theater) built on project-based learning and social-emotional learning principles. Participants develop a range of professional and life skills, fostering wellbeing, integration, employability, and resilience.
Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia, including community centers and refugee camps in the area.
Over the past 10 years, Greece has been hit by twin crises: an economic crisis and a migration crisis. This has left local and refugee youth in difficult positions when making the crucial transition to adulthood: it is difficult to find work, build a career, or plan for the future. These difficulties are greater for displaced youth, who must quickly integrate and overcome substantial traumatic experiences—with incredibly limited support.
Active citizens are the foundation of participatory democracy. However, youth struggling to transition to adulthood—especially marginalized refugee youth—cannot become active citizens.
Dinami brings these two communities together to help them build resilience and skills, and to create support networks that they would struggle to create on their own.
Dinami is for local and refugee youth in northern Greece. There are about 5,000 refugee youth in northern Greece—representing many cultures, languages, and aspirations—excluded from many aspects of civic life. Many face barriers to housing, education and work; and experience discrimination, poverty, and poor mental health. Local youth also face economic exclusion (youth unemployment in Greece is 35% and likely to rise with COVID-19 pandemic).
About 500 youth have participated in Dinami creative and sports projects so far.
Dinami’s project development process is designed to include the opinions of youth participants through ongoing discussion, questionnaires, and focus groups. We are currently completing a comprehensive needs assessment to better incorporate participants’ preferences.
Since we launched Dinami in August 2018, we have offered sequential workshops in photography, filmmaking, crafts, theater, and sports. Nearing Dinami's second anniversary amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are keen to leverage the rising use of digital platforms to introduce blended learning and remote instruction into Dinami. This will allow us to broaden our current offering to more youth, and make Dinami more resilient against future possible lockdowns.
Though we had to suspend in-person activities during lockdown, we used this time to conduct a thorough needs assessment to shape the future direction of Dinami around the feedback from past and potential participants. As Greece emerges from lockdown, we are eager to launch new in-person and digital Dinami projects this summer.
Since the launch of Dinami, we have pursued the following Dinami Outcomes:
Youth feeling more empowered to:
- Express and be themselves;
- Try new things and succeed;
- Work with others towards a common goal;
- Be inspired by and plan their future;
- Integrate into their community
A year from now, we plan to have established an Alumni program which provides youth with resources to deliver their own workshops and discussions. This is crucial, as it will give youth an opportunity to become active citizens, taking leadership and sharing their knowledge and skills.
Success will look like youth feeling less excluded and empowered to be active citizens and engagement in their communities, both within and beyond Dinami projects .
Socially isolated and economically disenfranchised youth, especially refugees, will struggle to participate in society as active citizens.
By bringing local and refugee youth together, Dinami empowers them to express themselves, connect with others, and develop diverse life skills—crucial foundations for effective participation in their communities.
Participants actively shape creative, vocational, and sports projects. Local and community youth are hired as trainees, gaining valuable work experience. This participatory approach imbues crucial skills and confidence for becoming active citizens.
We are also planning an alumni program for and shaped by Dinami participants focused on advocacy, active citizenship, and rights—a platform to create and share experiences of integration.
At RTI, our vision is a world where mental health and a focus on wellbeing occupy the center of all development and humanitarian programming. Our mission is to develop and implement programming that protects the mental health and fosters the wellbeing of displaced communities, and by so doing, moving mental health from the margins of aid work to its core.
Dinami is important to us because it allows to achieve both our mission and our vision: it allows to create positive results in the short term and locally (in the form of the skills and competencies acquired by participants), and also in the long term and at scale (in the form of the networks and community build by the program).
Funding requested from Civic Europe
All costs below represent a year of programming.
Personnel costs (1 Project Lead, 1 Project Officer, 1 Youth Trainee): 37000 EUR;
Operational costs (e.g. transportation, phone credit for participants, printing & outreach costs): 3000 EUR
Project-based learning costs (e.g. equipment, snacks for participants): 3100 EUR
Football for All (pitch rental, food and water for participants): 3600 EUR
Events (event space, equipment): 1600 EUR
Contingency costs: 1000 EUR
We would love to receive feedback on how other organizations, who are used to running in-person programming, have adapted to social distancing measures and transitioned to digital delivery—and how to balance in-person and long-distance delivery in the future.