Cyprus Mail

Volunteers to offer extra Greek classes to young asylum-seekers

A group of educators have decided to volunteer their free time every Sunday to teach Greek language courses to the 70 children at the Kofinou centre for asylum-seekers to help the youngsters integrate into the community.

Calling themselves ‘Teachers of Love’, the group so far consists of eight primary and secondary education teachers but members are looking for more volunteer teachers, including pre-school teachers, and anyone else who would like to contribute.

Around half of the children at the reception centre go to primary school, while the rest are high-school pupils or preschool age.

According to a representative of the group, they will initially organise two educational but also festive events within December, while the classes proper are set to start in January, right after the Christmas holidays.

The aim is to offer Greek language courses on Sundays between 10am and 1pm and other linguistic and cultural activities between 3pm and 6pm.

“We want to embrace all refugees. Learning Greek is the only way for these children to reach total inclusion,” the group’s representative said.

She added that the children who live at the Kofinou centre already attend Greek language courses in school twice per week, but that this is not enough to adequately learn the language.

In addition, she said, all children attend the same language class in school even though they have different linguistic needs.

The group came together following the strong reaction by the Zygi community , which has strongly opposed the building of a centre for unaccompanied minors in their area.

“We want positive actions,” said the representative, who wishes to remain anonymous.  She said this was team work and its members were seeking to change society’s mindset concerning refugees.

“We want the whole of Cyprus to embrace this,” she said.

The aim is for the programme to also expand to centres for unaccompanied minors.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency