The situation here in Greece is volatile. Displaced people in their thousands continue to arrive on Greek shores as conflict and poverty persist across several continents. Currently, 500 people are arriving on a daily basis. Once these people make their way to the mainland, they are housed in refugee camps, detention centres, self-organised squats and housing shelters, whilst many are homeless. As well as struggling to access basic education and vital services, many young people in Athens don't have the opportunity to engage in recreation or sport.
Engaging in meaningful physical activities, especially at a young age, is so important for personal development. Free Movement Skateboarding is a mobile project that brings skateboarding workshops to 150 young people every week. After two years of teaching, we have seen our workshops significantly improve the health and wellbeing of the kids we teach; through learning an empowering skill, creating diverse friendships, releasing energy, practicing languages, building resilience, and feeling a sense of belonging within a supportive community.
Our van is the heart of our project. It carries our staff, volunteers, equipment and our mobile skatepark; allowing us to bring skateboarding sessions to young people all over Athens and the surrounding area. It is essential for us to keep our workshops mobile, this way we can hold public sessions in the centre as well as inside refugee camps which are isolated from the city.
Up until this point, we have been operating using our van we drove here from England. It has served us incredibly well – transporting donations across Europe, and carrying our heavy load to all of our sessions every week for two and a half years. Unfortunately, we are now faced with the loss of this marvellous van and need to fundraise in order to help us purchase a Greek vehicle. We’re currently borrowing a car from one of our team members and running a reduced schedule, without our skatepark, while we find a solution. You can find out more about this by clicking here.
After much research, we have found the perfect vehicle for our needs! The model is an Opel Vivaro/Renault Trafic/Nissan Primastar, which allows for either a 9-seat configuration for skate park trips with the kids, or a 6-seat configuration for sessions, with enough cargo space to fit at least one quarter, two boxes with ramps, two kickers with ramps and all of the bags, helmets and boards. The skatepark trips - as seen in the short film above - are really really valuable; they allow the kids to experience new spaces outside of the refugee camps, progress their skills and most importantly, to meet and skate with the locals. Having a Greek vehicle also fits in line with our long-term goal to become a locally-led organisation within the next few years.
Here's how you can support us
This time last year, with your incredible help, we were able to raise €4200 towards a new Free Movement van. The ideal vehicle here in Greece costs approximately €8000 euros. Thus, we are trying to raise an extra £3,500 (roughly €4000) which will allow us the funds to purchase our new vehicle! With this money we can get a really good van which will support our current programme and short-term goals as well as our future developmental action for many years to come.
The purchase of a sustainable vehicle will allow us to keep teaching every month:
- An average of 265 young people, 121 girls and 144 boys
- 16 skateboarding workshops in hard-to-reach refugee camps
- 20 skateboarding workshops in the city centre
- 4 creative workshops
- 4 Women's Program workshops
Please share this campaign with your friends and family, and thank you so much for your support.
The Free Movement team. X