ASB and the Center for the Therapy of Addicted persons (KETHEA) joined their efforts to raise awareness on substance abuse.
ASB together with the Mobile Unit of KETHEA REGION OF EPIRUS and with the support of IOM, coordinated a series of awareness and preventive sessions on addiction issues for adolescents.
KETHEA constitutes the largest network of detoxification and social reintegration services in Greece, one of the key players in the national plan against addiction and an advisory body of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on drugs.
Elpida Sdoukou, an educator in the field of addiction, co-responsible with Napoleon Papageorgiou and Irini Papatreha for the KETHEA sessions, talks to us about this action.
“As an educator on addiction issues, it was a challenge to come to Katsikas. I knew the place from the beginning when there were still tents. This time I came to talk about how the children can overcome some difficulties and to see how we as an external and local actor can support the children at the site of Katsikas.
Our material is aimed at teenagers of independent origin. We did not want and do not want to behave like teachers, in fact, we came to listen. Νor were we here to give a direction but we wanted to elicit and point out. For this reason, we asked children questions to find out what they are experiencing in the field, and help them to share these experiences. I was impressed how thoroughly the adolescents got involved and their participation widely exceeded our expectations. During the interactive exercise, I heard the children talk about values; words I recall are: “perseverance”, “patience”, “effort”, and I realized that these children were well informed.”
On behalf of ASB’s Protection team, Nikolaos Gkarelias Oikonomou explains that “a preliminary meeting was held with KETHEA with both ASB Non-Formal Education and Protection teams via Skype to organize the actions and their content” during which adolescents were given the opportunity to express their views freely. He also believes that as a community engagement activity, “this cooperation is an ideal start for a refugee-friendly society”.
Ms Kalliopi Mytilinaiou also shared her experience with us and told us that “teachers of Non-Formal Education also participated as students. It was interesting for us to learn about our students”.
Last but not least, teacher Nikoletta Rapti added that everyone participated despite the fact that the teen section consists of children with very different personalities. They were aware of the issue she said, because almost every teenager listens to rap music that mentions substances and relevant information circulates quickly. But their attitude towards substance use was negative because they knew the effects.
Four friends in the teenager group (picture on the right), all sixteen years old took part in the action. They are quite impressed that they are to be interviewed. Amidst younger children dribbling a ball, they said:
“We learned that we should avoid substance use, and now we too can better advise our friends. It is also advised to exercise and generally we rejoice when we can take part in activities in this space. We cannot go to school because of COVID and we have a great time here. We love our teachers very much and we are grateful”.