Every Beneficiary has a story. We are lucky to have been a part of these:
(** Names and place of birth have been altered for confidentiality*)
Jumana’s Success Story (PsychoSocial Support + Livelihoods)
Jumana* is a single mother living in Greece, who came to Hestia Hellas seeking psychological support and began weekly counseling sessions with one of our Psychologists. She is in Greece with one of her children, and her other 5 children are back in their country of origin. As legal proceedings of applying for Asylum and making applications for Family Reunification are very slow, Jumana was searching for support in how to manage her day to day life, which had become consumed by panic attacks and high anxiety which prohibited her from following many of her dreams.
As the therapeutic relationship developed, the sessions focused on creating healthy weekly plans and goal-setting, through which the client was referred to the Livelihoods program to receive CV support and have weekly appointments for assistance in applying for job positions along with tips for professional development.
After 6 weeks of being dedicated to her job search and receiving outstanding support from the staff at Hestia Hellas, Jumana dropped into our offices with a smile in her eyes and joy in her voice, with the pleasure of announcing to our team that she had been accepted and hired for a job. She has since referred a number of people to Hestia Hellas who are seeking support.
We are humbled at the opportunity to be providing a holistic approach, where we can be supporting beneficiaries in more than one way. Stories like Jumana’s is what keeps us motivated at Hestia Hellas, no matter how big or small the success we are bringing people together to create a home away from home.
The Mahmoud Family (Child-Friendly Space + Livelihoods)
Mr. Mahmoud* is in Athens with 3 of his children while his wife and other children have furthered their travels to another European country. Mr. Mahmoud brings his 3 children to Hestia Hellas daily for the education and support we offer to children in the Child Friendly Space. He has the heart and strength that anyone would want in a father. He continues to push and find out how to support his children the best, even when this is all very new for him and he is going through his own difficulties. When he first started bringing the children to the CFS he would sit in the lobby and wait for them until they finished, every now and then we would try to speak with him about joining the Livelihoods program to further his education as well but always replies with kind smile saying no thank you. After a few times of asking he agreed to try it and started the computer lessons.
Hestia Hellas is a space where families can come together to learn. Our ability to offer educational support for children and professional development for adults, allows single parents like Mr.Mahmoud to have opportunities he might not have had otherwise.
Case Manager Stories (PsychoSocial Support Team)
- N. is 36 y.o. and she is born in Afghanistan.
After the first 2 sessions, we discussed with the whole PSS team how to support her holistically and offer other supportive services, internal and external of the organization. When N. arrived in Greece, she lived for several months in the Moria Camp on Lesvos. There, a public agency responsible for identifying “vulnerable” persons, stressed that she had to transfer to the Greek mainland to be in a safer place, because she is a victim of sexual harassment.
The HH psychologist and the PSS team worked tightly to give her sufficient support, because she also has heart disease. The primary steps were to guarantee that she has access to the health care system, especially obtaining her medication for depression. We were quick to recognize the emergency of the situation, because the previous organization she visited couldn’t support her efficiently. We found alternative, durable solutions through other NGOs. We regularly did “follow up meetings” with Ms N. and the contact person from the organization providing her medical support. This was important to ensure that she clearly understood all her medical procedures; the previous doctors that she met didn’t have an interpreter to explain anything to her.
In the meantime, she was living in a place that is not appropriate for a single woman, and before she came to H.H., N. had inquired for a lawyer to help her receive asylum in Greece, but after their 1st meeting, they didn’t contact her again. All of these events and situations had impacted her in a negative way; she felt hopeless, and believed that she faced a racial discrimination. So, in conjunction with her weekly sessions, we decided to do more one-on-one meetings with her to find out how we could cover her needs better. Most importantly, those meetings were to inform her and receive her consent connected on all the further steps and supportive care that we planned for her.
After 3 months of systematic work, the interdisciplinary approach of the PSS team started to pay off. We have offered support to N. to the following areas: legal aid, accommodation, and medical support. Even when she couldn’t come at our office for her session/appointment, she would call us to inform us because she stated that “I feel that you care for me”. Also, she started to attend our computer courses.
Some weeks ago, N. came at Hestia just to express her gratitude for our constant support. It was the 1st time that I saw her to smile and to state that that she feels more powerful. We continue to provide our services to her.
- I. is 27 y.o. and is from Syria.
She had lived in Greece for 8 months. We received the request the NGO which provides her with a room in a shelter for women in Athens. She started to receive PSS services in June 2018. I. has depression and meets regularly with a psychiatric at H.H. In her first meeting, she described herself as “antisocial”; hence, she felt alone in Greece, and hoped to be accepted for family reunification in Sweden where her whole family is living now.
In her personal “action plan”, we provided her with information concerning activities/initiatives that she can be involved, aiming to make her daily life feel productive. As she progressed with the PSS support, we closely considered her priorities and interests; thus, she decided to work as a volunteer to another NGO.
By offering incentives to develop her skills and personality, we created opportunities for a female refugee that allow her to pursue her personal development for a future independently from where she comes from and where she will live in the future.
Furthermore, We have kept in constant communication and cooperation with the sociologist who is the “contact person” in the shelter where I. is living. As a result, we were able to connect her with a lawyer and doctors for her medical issues. This holistic approach helps her to be consistent with our psychologist and with her sessions.
We usually meet her for few minutes before her sessions. The last time we met her, she expressed the willingness to write articles and contribute to a refugees’ initiative to bring attention to the living conditions in Greece for the young refugees.
In line with Hestia’s values and mission, we regard young people in society as a a force of talents, dreams, hopes, and try to give them a voice. In this regard, we support I. in channeling her energy to create and develop a positive attitude towards all the challenges she face.