Since starting in 2016, we have had over 400 people from over 35 countries volunteer at our centers in Greece. We want to recognize and appreciate our volunteers' valuable contribution, as well as help connect our volunteers together. The 'we' writing this is also a volunteer (aka Sammy your Communications Coordinator!). Upon reflecting, we have realized that all of our volunteers have been brought together because of our shared values and mission in life. We've also realized that as an organization run by volunteers, as well as one of our values - we are all equals, and we want to empower and support you in your personal activism.
Thus - for the summer, we will be trying out our 'Collaborator Community'.
We'll be using a number of tools to build our community. On this page, you'll find a description of each of the tools and how we'll be using it to organize, connect, and support each other in our mission to 'respect humanity and celebrate the diversity of life'. A bit cheesy, but someone's gotta say it.
In order to connect all of these different tools together, create your collaborator profile. The concept behind the profile is to have a personal space that introduces you, provides information on how to connect with you, and validates that you have the same values as Action for Education, and thus, are most likely a decent person.
7 Benefits to Being a Collaborator:
1. By having a collaborator profile on our website - we will help your SEO - the fancy way of saying that when someone Google's you - they will find your Collaborator profile on our Action for Education website and find information that demonstrates your commitment to making the world a better place, as well as ways to reach out to you if they are interested.
2. We will feature your personal fundraisers, projects, and activism on our website, social media channels, and email. As part of our 9 Muses pillars, we will feature you on the day dedicated to the muse Erato of love. We will talk about how much we love your work, share information about your project, and help to raise awareness.
3. If you are on Couchsurfing.com or AirBnb - you can add a link on your profile. You can also use your Collaborator profile as a hyperlink on your Couchsurfing or AirBnb profile as a way to verify that you will be a trustworthy and respectful host or surfer. Other Action for Education collaborators can reach out to you if they are in your city and need a place to stay. You don't have to say yes, you can also just go for a drink or give them advice. Actually, please say no. If hosting someone makes you feel uncomfortable or you are busy and stressed out, say no. That person will respect your feelings, and appreciate your honesty. As we all know through our work at Action for Education, no one likes to feel like a burden.
4. If you are on Bla Bla Car, Waze Carpool, or Karzoo, the same applies to #3. You can add a link, and hyperlink back to the Action for Education website to verify your reliability as a passenger. As above, say no if you feel like it. Cars are very intense and vulnerable spaces. It is important that you feel safe, confident, and in control while operating a vehicle.
5. We will send you a print copy of our academic-&-creative magazine, as well as invite you and a plus one to our launch parties that we organize! We will also list your name as one of our collaborators in the back of the publication.
6. We will send you a sticker for you to put on your laptop or bumper. Then, when you are sitting in a café or driving down the road, other Action for Education collaborators will be able to identify you. You can then introduce yourselves and have a coffee, or give them a ride knowing full well that you have something to talk about.
7. We will make sure you are the first to know about all our projects, news, and developments. A few big ones coming soon will be our World Refugee Day event on June 20th, our fundraising road-trip from July 7th to July 15th, our (annual) Symposium from August 7th to August 13th, and our two week Language Immersion Programme sometime in September date TBA.
How to Become a Collaborator:
Even though the dream is to have everyone in the world as an Action for Education collaborator, not everyone is actually a collaborator. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, collaborator means:
a person who works together with others for a special purpose
This is our definition as well. Within the organization of Action for Education we see all of our volunteers as collaborators. We are all equals brought together by our shared values working together for a special purpose -
to create spaces that engage in lifelong learning through creativity, community and choice to support people whose basic human rights are not being met.
Thus, we have created three parts to becoming an official collaborator and a way to verify that you are a collaborator - your profile.
Part 1: Your Thoughts are Valuable
We want to know what you think. We will be sending out a survey for you to fill in, as that is the most efficient way to involve you in our discussions on the projects we are working from afar. Through the survey, we are able to get your valuable advice before taking action!
Fill in the Survey!
Part 2: Your Time is Valuable
We have calculated the financial value of your volunteered time for Action for Education - over one million pounds. Because of your time, we have been able to make a difference in providing support to the vulnerable communities in Greece. We also recognize that it takes a level of privilege to be able to volunteer in Greece for six weeks. Some people have bills, commitments, or outside circumstances that make it impossible to take space from your life for six weeks. We want to recognize the important contribution of our volunteers, but also make becoming a collaborator accessible to others who have our values and mission.
Thus, in order to become part of our community, you must have:
1. Volunteered at one of our centers for six weeks.
2. Donate the equivalent in money of volunteering at one of our centers for six weeks.
3. Contribute to our accessible academic-&-creative magazine by sharing meaningful content with us spending the equivalent of six weeks volunteering in Greece.
4. Organize a fundraiser or event that raises the same amount of money as the amount of time spent volunteering in Greece.
5. Volunteer and take on responsibility for some of our remote opportunities for the equivalent of the amount of time spent volunteering for six weeks in Greece.
6. Retweet, share, and support our social media posts and spend the same amount of time as volunteering at one of our centers in Greece.
6 weeks volunteering in Greece is equal to 1,008 hours of time. Using the capitalist principle that time is money, and the average hourly wage in the UK (as we're assuming that the average person is choosing to volunteer with us), the financial equivalent of 1,008 hours is £13,708.80.
The ball is in your hands. Take action or donate £13,708.80. Whichever one is more convenient for you... :P.
Part 3: Yours Values Matter
Just because you've come to volunteer with us (or the equivalent) doesn't mean you have the same values as us. Values are not something you say, they are something you do. Every action you make is motivated by your values. You may not even be aware you have values or what your values are, but if you take time to reflect - they will become clear.
To make sure that you are aware of our values and have taken action as a result of them, we've devised a quick quiz!
Take the quiz!
Once you've completed the three parts of our Collaborator application -- welcome my friend!! You are part of our Action for Education community. There are a number of benefits that come with that, as well as responsibility. In this section, we'll explain the tools we're using to connect, support, and empower you as well as build the foundations of our community.
We'll be using our website, email, events, magazine, merchandise and social media to organize.
Our website is the central base for all of our communications. All information posted on social media or sent out through emails will link back to our website. All the information about events, opportunities, and news will be hosted through our website. The academic-&-creative magazine will be hosted on our website. And most important, all of your personal activist profiles will be hosted on our website.
It is our core. Everything posted on our website will be well thought out and intentional.
To us, emails are the new letter. I mean, the name harks back to the day when people actually received mail. We will think of our emails as letters to you, and just like in real life, our letters will be more frequent when we need to communicate something important, and less frequent when we don't.
We'll organize a few regular emails that you can opt into or out of depending on what you're interested in.
Muse Clio - News
We will send a weekly email compiling updates and discussions we are having about each of our projects, as well as news about other grassroots organizations and current events that are relevant to what we are doing at Action for Education. We will also feature articles that we recommend. We will dedicate this email to the muse of history, heroic acts, and guitar. The main intention behind this is to keep all of our current volunteers in Greece updated about important things that are going on at the organization and wider that may affect their role. As you are a collaborator, we are happy to keep you in the loop if you are interested.
Muse Calliope - Arts & Culture
To us, the result of a happy, thriving society is arts and culture. When all of one's basic human rights are being met, one is able to feel safe enough to express themselves. The expression of oneself outside of the body is done through art, music, poetry, song, speech, and writing. We are creating a magazine as well as organizing a series of events for this reason. We want to host a space that celebrates and showcases the inspiring expressions of our community. We dedicate this email to the muse of heroic poems and rhetoric art.
Muse Ourania - Opportunities
As we are starting to dream bigger and aim higher, we are launching a bunch of new projects. Some of them are in Greece, and some of them can be done remotely! Thus, we'll be featuring more ways for you to get involved without even getting out of your pajamas. We'll be sharing these in the email. We're also focusing more on creating community through events, and so we will be featuring upcoming events. We dedicate this email to the muse of the stars. The intention is to get as many people involved as possible and connect us in the real world - not just online!
To us - the best way to community and be a community is in person. Before the hyper-growth of cities and the development of technology allowing us to live further and farther from each other, it was normal to have a community center where people met. Before Facebook or the Internet, you had to go to a real community space to find out about events or see how your friends were doing. Because of technology, the community center has become not necessary - but we think it is.
We see our events as pop up community centers. Wherever an Action for Education event is happening, that is our community center. We'll be organizing a whole bunch of events this summer, and we want you to organize your own events and empower you to create your own community.
All of our events you are invited to, and you can bring as many people as you want and invite as many people as you want. For World Refugee Day - we will be organizing a big event in London. We'd love for you to organize your own event. We've created a number of tools to help you organize, and we would love to feature your event on our website, as well as help you by listing it on other activist websites!
Events coming up:
To keep all of this information centralized and organized, we will be publishing a magazine both online and in-print. The intention is to publish a community resource to facilitate discussion and creativity. Thus we will be collaborating with artists, academics, writers, and other creators. If you are interested in getting involved - email us.
As part of our community, we'll be creating an online marketplace - similar to etsy, but only for items that have the same values as ours and only for our collaborators. Aka you! We'll be creating our own products in collaboration with our students in Greece. We'd love to collaborate with you as well.
By making and selling useful projects that have the same values as our organization, we will create a fixed income, thus we won't have to keep asking you to donate. Instead - whenever you need a present, you can just buy something from our store! It helps us and it helps you. We would like to have cards for all occasions, as well as soap, candles, and clothing! Eventually we will also sell print copies of our magazine, books, and tickets to our events!
There are so many social media outlets, it's really insane. Instead of trying to all of them a little bit, we're going to focus on doing a few really well. We don't want to have a platform, and then have you message us on that, we we never respond or support you on that channel, unintentionally breaking the trust. We will only be using Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Whatsapp. We will be using them in different ways - as we believe that each platform has a different intention and is best suited for a different kind of communication.
Our Twitter profile will be focused on connecting and supporting the grassroots organizations and serving as a watchdog for the refugee activist community. We will be retweeting and sharing content that helps us to be able to do this work.
Our Instagram profile will be focused on sharing awareness about our creative projects. We will use it as an art gallery and post photography, food pictures, art, instapoetry, quotes, and fashion that all connect back to our website and communicate our values. We will have four channels, one for each of our projects, and then an official Action for Education channel that showcases content from our projects, as well as our volunteers. We'd love to retweet your posts. To let us know that you've posted something relevant, tag us in the post @ActionforEducation.
On LinkedIn we will focus on our professional aims and community - to be the best Teachers, Sanitary Hygiene providers, Nutrition Coordinators, and Human Rights nonprofit that we can be. We will list all of our opportunities there, as well as our education tips and content. It is where we will connect with corporations and nonprofits that have similar mission and values to us, as well as where we connect our collaborators with professional opportunities.
Our Facebook will be the main hub of our communication and coordination of the collaborator community. On Facebook we will list all of our events around the world, we will post regular content from our blog and other sources, we will share videos and live-stream events, and we will organize an exclusive group for our collaborators.
The Facebook Group will be actively moderated in order to make sure that the group achieves our action: to support our collaborators in their personal activism to do something together. To join the group you will have to provide a link to your Collaborator profile.
We will post a question every day that you can respond to, as well as contribute your own questions and posts focused around 7 different hashtags: #MotivationMonday, #GoodNewsTuesday, #WellnessWednesday, #ThankfulThursday, #caturday, #FollowFriday, #SundayRead.
While you're volunteering with us in Greece as well as to organize our remote volunteers and projects, we will be using WhatsApp.
On the About page of your profile, please answer these six questions:
1. When did you volunteer and where?
2. What are your personal interests?
3. What are your professional interests?
4. What is the change you wish to see in the world and how are you taking action?
5. Are you happy for our Action for Education collaborators or other individuals to reach out to you for a coffee or a couch? Y / N
6. If yes, where are you based?
Also feel free to hyperlink to as many of your social media accounts. Here's a list: Facebook, Instagram, Email, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter, Couchsurfer / Airbnb, Blablacar / Waze / ETC.