After months of discussing possible concepts for a workshop and a relevant training curriculum, we launched the first Women Refugee Route volunteer workshop in Athens, Greece. At the premises of the Salvation Army Athens, we welcomed 25 women from over 12 different countries. They all contributed with their knowledge and experience from working for various support organisations and networks in Europe.
The inaugural workshop served as a first trial: it gave the WRR team the opportunity to see how our curriculum would be received by volunteers. The two-day programme included sessions on the life cycle of a refugee woman, physical and psychological health risks for refugees and volunteers, intersectional sensibility and diversity, the use of technological tools to help connect refugee women with interpreters and, overall, the need to realise and consider the vulnerability of refugee women and their specific needs.
Special thanks goes out to our partner Health-Point Foundation who, represented by the amazing Dr. Faith Traeh, provided us with crucial information on health concerns, treatments and preventive measures. One point made clear by Faith is that volunteers should not forget to take care of themselves while working with others, since the psychological effects can be especially devastating. Furthermore, she shared practical tips on how to build “healthy” relationships between volunteers and refugees, and how to keep boundaries while working with empathy and compassion.