After a mishap with my plans to study in London in September 2019 (read the whole story here), I quickly had to change gears and find something to do for the remainder of the year. Upon facing the challenging reality that I had to, yet again, defer my entrance to university for a second Bachelor, I had the choice to either be sad about this situation or to make the most out of it. I decided to look for internships and volunteering opportunities all around Europe, and after a month-long process, I finally had a few options.
Among the various choices I had, one stood out to me: Hestia Hellas in Athens. After consulting their website and finding out about the great work that they do, I opted for this one. I booked my flight on the 28th of October, and on the 1st of November, I landed in Athens.
About the NGO
Hestia Hellas is an NGO that works with both refugees and locals in Greece. Following the economic crisis which hit Greece roughly, employment prospects became low and to this day, the wages earned in Greece are impressively low. Hestia works with locals in the hopes of increasing their employability by giving them tools to write better CVs, and by helping them practice for interviews among others. Furthermore, Hestia works with vulnerable populations, such as refugees, to offer them a ‘home away from home’. The NGO offers psychological and social support and offers language classes. Lastly, the Child-Friendly Space offers children a place where they can study different subjects while developing social and cognitive skills.
Unlike the past volunteering experiences I have done in the past, this one was not organised through a volunteering association. Instead of doing hands-on volunteering, such as playing and teaching the children, I decided to learn about the way an NGO is managed, how it coordinates volunteers and staff, and how it overcomes hardships. Needless to say, being a volunteer (although this really was more an internship) in the Human Resources/Admin departments was an opportunity to do so.
Stay tuned for more stories about Athens!