Verhaal, 18 mei 2022

Jobs for better integration in Greece

The Dutch Council for Refugees (DCR) is supporting the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) in an employment project to promote the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Greece. Artemis Papatheodorou, project manager at GCR, tells us about the project.
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Guidance towards work

'The aim of the Cosmos Employment Hub project is to help refugees and asylum seekers who are allowed to work in Greece to find decent jobs. We do this by offering coaching from employability officers and collaboration with employers.'

Language barrier

'In Greece, there are social services to support people in looking for a job or in other matters related to employment. They are intended for everyone, including refugees and asylum seekers. But we’ve seen how difficult it is for them. Often, they don't even know these services exist. The lack of interpreters makes communication one of the biggest barriers.'

Better integration

'This project offers them support in finding a job, so they can integrate more easily. We often support people who are dealing with poverty, live in poor conditions, work illegally to earn some money and, because of everything they’ve been through, are dealing with anxiety and stress.

On top of that, we’ve had two very strict lockdowns here in Greece, which has left many people completely isolated. This project helps them participate in society again.'

Personal action plan

'Project participants have one-on-one sessions with one of our employability officers. Together they make a personal action plan, which includes activities like taking language lessons and writing a CV. We offer soft skills training, where we cover things like communication with colleagues, presenting yourself, teamwork, stress management and leadership skills.'

This year, about 200 participants are participating in the project. They are extremely motivated and have seized this opportunity with both hands.

Artemis Papatheodorou, project manager Greek Council for Refugees

Broad network

'Because we have a broad network of employers and we actively contact them when we see suitable vacancies, we often succeed in helping people find a job within three to four months. Participants have found jobs in areas like the tourism sector, construction, and agriculture. We help them prepare for the job interview and follow up with both the employee and the employer to see how things go over time.'

Ideal match

'A good example of this is Tyty. She is originally from Congo and was trained there as a midwife. Thanks to her experience in healthcare, we were able to find an employer who not only had a suitable vacancy, but was also willing to offer her paid training, including language lessons. A match made in heaven!'

Capacity building for the future

'The GCR and the Dutch Council for Refugees (DCR) have been working together since 2016. They are a partner that not only supports us financially, but also helps us build capacity in fundraising, advocacy and more. They help organisations become resilient so they can be ready for the future, not just the “now”. DCR is in our hearts.'

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