November 2018 – Volos, Greece
On Thursday 23 March 2018, there was a meeting at our school, the Secondary School in Juvenile Prison in Volos, Greece, under the programme “I Care and Act” between the students of the 7thHigh School of Volos and our students. Ten students of the second grade of the school together with the Assistant Headmistress, Vivi Poziopoulou, and a teacher came to our school.
We should stress that an activity like that is really hard to happen in the prison, due to all of the restrictions and there should be timely and careful planning.
We thought that there would be awkwardness and reservation among the children because, on the one hand, the students of the high school had never been to a prison before, and on the other hand, our students always have the fear of rejection from the “outside world” in the back of their minds.
The meeting was structured upon the programme of Volunteering and more specifically, in the beginning, there was an ice breaker game with an object that is very familiar to our students: a rosary, their best companion. The ice broke fast and the atmosphere got warmer.
Next, our students suggested playing the game of “The Good Volunteer”, a game created by the students of the three penitentiary institutions of our prefecture who took part in the programme two years ago. They split into two mixed groups, made up of students from both schools, and began playing with a lot of willingness, rhythm and in a particularly competitive way.
Although it was their first meeting and contact with the prison and the detained foreigners, they weren’t at all hesitant; on the contrary, they seemed like old acquaintances getting to know each other really fast, without taboos and prejudices, which impressed us. They faced the children as their equal and the students of the school really felt that and enjoyed this new experience. We, the educators, in turn were pleased by this approach and contact among our students. We did not realise how fast the time went by. We were impressed by the collaborative mood of the children and the student’s level of knowledge regarding volunteering, solidarity and altruism. The walls fell and there was a feeling of freedom and “normalness” in the atmosphere, while the student’s eyes were shining and were lit by the inner sense of completeness they felt through their contact with the students of the other school.
The immediacy, humor and communication skills of the students helped in creating a warm, honest and pleasant atmosphere during the meeting.
The most moving moment was when the students of the high school spontaneously offered to help a prisoner with his homework, since he wasn’t a student of junior high school but of high school, an educational level of studies not offered in this prison.
We were all speechless by this initiative and the sensitivity which the students exhibited and this offer touched its recipient. It wasn’t just a promise. After a few days, they sent our student exercises to practice, which made him take it seriously. He studied on a daily basis and tried to show his gratitude in this way.
In conclusion, we consider this meeting as highly successful. It was beneficial for both sides, especially the gesture of good will towards the prisoner-student. The mission was completed and outside theoretical approaches, volunteering was realised through experience.
by Anastassia Chatzipli, Philologist; Sophia Fraggou, Philologist and Ioannis Fovos, Mathematician, M.Ed
– teachers at the Secondary School in Juvenile Prison in Volos, Greece
In the framework of the Cultural Program “I Care and Act” during the school year 2017-2018 α comic book was created with title: “The Journey and the Route from Syria to Greece”
The comic book theme is inspired by the journey of a refugee who seeks Peace and Calm Life. He narrated his story, as part of the ” I Care And Act ” cultural program 2016-17, to the philologists Anastasia Chatzipli and Sophia Fraggou and has been included in the book “… look, I am man too…”
Implementation, illustration & editing of the comic:
Teacher of Mathematics in Secondary School of Juveniles in Prison in Volos, Greece