The Halcyon Days Project, Athens
The Halcyon Days Project is a new centre of learning for female asylum-seekers and refugees living in Athens. The centre runs education and livelihoods programmes that support vulnerable communities to thrive in Athens’ urban environment. The project is run by Action for Women, with Action for Education as an implementing partner.
Female asylum-seekers and refugees living in Athens encounter a wide array of obstacles to accessing essential, quality education. Having spent many months in camps on the islands of the Aegean, Athens is a place that offers the hope of better services. However, the reality is quite different. Long and unsafe travel, family responsibilities, language barriers and sparsity in tailored programmes means many women miss out on the opportunity of developing their academic, linguistic and social confidence.
The Halcyon Days Project is uniquely equipped to respond to these barriers. This female-only space provides 3 pillars of support: education, protection and livelihoods, catering directly towards the needs of female asylum-seekers and women from the local community.
The Halcyon Days Project provides 5 days of education to over 70 women living in the Athens area. Students enrol for daily English language classes, run at 5 levels and delivered by trained ESL teachers. Students are encouraged to follow specialised learning pathways that are sensitive to the needs and backgrounds of each individual. The Centre also provides Greek language classes 3 days per week, and bespoke computer skills training 2 times per week, as well as access to a wide array of education and social services including a Livelihoods programme, Internet, Kitchen, Library and Garden.
The Centre is located in central Athens and is at heart a sanctuary for learning that build social connections and empowers women to build essential skills for further education and jobs. The Centre recognises the barriers confronted by women in accessing quality education and has developed its education timetable in order to ensure ease of access and attendance, whilst remaining flexible to changing urban life of Athens.