Healing together: refugee children benefit from Theirworld project in Greece

Children At Rti Baytna Hub In Turkey
Nilia and Happiness having fun thanks to the project founded by Refugee Trauma Initiative (Christos Tolis/Theirworld)

Early childhood development, Refugees and internally displaced people

A new video to mark Giving Tuesday shows how young children learn to socialise and play together through group games and creative exercises. 

The joy on their faces says it all. Two little girls from different parts of the world, just happy to be playing and learning together.  

Nilia from Afghanistan and Happiness from Congo are benefitting from a project called Heal Together, which provides early childhood services to refugee families in Greece.  

Through the programme, Theirworld’s partner Refugee Trauma Initiative (RTI) will reach 200 to 250 children and up to 60 caregivers. It will promote mental health through early learning and creative exercises such as arts and crafts and story-telling. 

“They learn how to be together. They learn to play group games together, to be kind to each other,” said Nilia’s mother Shima. “A three-year-old kid can learn to be sociable, to be in a community, to play with other kids and cooperate with them.” 

A new video to mark Giving Tuesday – when supporters back the causes close to their heart – shows how much the two friends and other refugee children love learning to Heal Together in Athens. You can help by contributing to Theirworld’s work

The Heal Together project – funded by players of the Nationale Postcode Loterij in the Netherlands – is part of RTI’s Baytna Hubs. They are designed to help refugees overcome trauma and provide families with key emotional support alongside high-quality early childhood care and development. 

Heal Together will provide training and support to build the capacity of RTI’s Baytna (Arabic for our home) Hubs partners. Layla and Happiness go to the Athens Comic Library hub. 

Chloe Sasha, a facilitator at the hub, said: “Some children don’t have the opportunity to get into kindergarten or they’re still a bit young, especially with the pandemic.

“It’s left a lot of children without the ability to socialise with other children, which is so important in their development, especially before the age of six.”

Refugee Children Play At Rti Bayna Hub In Athens

Happiness and Nilia play happily at a Batyna Hub in Athens (Christos Tolis/Theirworld)

Happiness’s mother Prisca said her daughter goes to the hub three times a week and she has noticed a big change in a short time. 

She added: “When she comes home from school, she tells me what they’ve shown her. She shows me what the teacher taught her. I’m happy.” 

Nilia’s family arrived in Greece from Afghanistan in 2019. They spent 18 months on the island of Lesvos before moving to Athens. 

Shima said her daughter is “very happy and more sociable”. She added: “It’s good for her to be with other kids.” 

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