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Maria Papoulia

CFF Facilitator - SolidarityNow

Maria Papoulia is a graduate of the Higher Technological Educational Institute in the department of Speech and Language Therapy.

She worked in Special Education both in Greece and abroad.
Overseas, she has worked with an NGO in Ireland for people with disabilities and with a Special School in Lithuania. She has been employed in several educational settings, working or volunteering, gaining experience in learning through play and in alternative ways of educating preschool and school children. Indicatively, she has been involved in Therapeutic Riding, Dog Therapy, Educational Summer Camps, and educational activities in a summer Reading and Creativity Campaign. During the past few years, she has worked in the creation and implementation of educational programs in schools and also as an educator in an Escape Room for children. She has participated in a Music Education workshop, in a Kinesthetic and Music workshop for mixed groups of people with and without sensory disabilities and is currently volunteering to create educational board games focusing on diversity.

Through the program, she started working at SolidarityNow as a CFF Facilitator, in order to support preschool children and young people that are currently staying in refugee camps in the Attica region by implementing both recreational and educational activities and non-formal education classes. The goal is the provision of psychosocial support while through these activities the children will also learn different skills, learn to cooperate, respect diversity as well as cultural variations, and even promote their self-respect.

A very important part of this position is the creation of a framework to prepare these children to get admitted to school, via learning and exercising necessary skills for the first grades of primary school, along with social skills useful for their individual development in the future as members of the Greek Society.
These life skills can be further enhanced via customizable educational activities targeting the autonomy of the children and the acquisition of basic life skills, all necessary for their future. Priority is given to the relationship of trust built between children and parents who are going to have an active role in the program and will be able to express concerns and discuss their children’s progress via arranged meetings.

SolidarityNow is a Civil Society Organization that was incorporated in order to improve the living conditions of vulnerable groups so that they can rebuild their lives with dignity and new prospects. The Solidarity Centers are in the heart of the organization’s programs, and offer free services accessible to everyone (psychosocial support, legal counselling, accounting services and support for integration in the labor market). Other programs include the ESTIA accommodation program for asylum seekers, the Educational program HELIOS which targets recognized refugees, the Accommodation program for unaccompanied minors (Intermediary Hosting Centers and Supervised Apartments). Finally, the organization operates in 14 refugee camps all over Greece through Child and Family Support Hubs.

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