Volunteering with I AM YOU means that you will join a dynamic team of individuals who together support our work to bring a sense of humanity to refugee camps in Greece and make the lives of displaced men, women and children better. We focus on human-to-human aid, putting volunteers at the forefront of our work and building our organization on their skills and experience. We celebrate the diversity in our team and believe it makes us stronger.
What to expect
How we work
I AM YOU was built on the hard work and determination of a collection of more than 200 volunteers over time. We utilize the vast skills, knowledge and ideas of our volunteers to continuously improve our work. Our volunteers are appointed to one of our four programs: Education Support, Youth Activities, Expressive Arts and Camp Services, according to their skills and experience. Upon completion of an induction and orientation, volunteers will be trained and led by their relevant Program Officer. There is often crossover between all programs and we work together as one team, meaning that the work of our volunteers is varied, interesting and highly valuable.
Qualities & skills
There are a number of core qualities and skills that are required to work with I AM YOU. The most important are to be personable, friendly and approachable. We are often told that the way in which we help the most is simply by being there; listening, smiling and showing that we care. The situation in camp can change daily, therefore we require our volunteers to work from initiative and be flexible to support team members wherever needed. For our current programs, the most relevant skills and experience we look out for are language skills in Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish or Greek, teaching experience (TEFL qualified preferred), skills within the arts and previous experience in disaster relief or humanitarian aid. We also have a need for drivers.
It is a delicate working environment for two main reasons. Firstly, you will meet people who have been through a great deal of hardship and trauma, and have left behind good lives and jobs or businesses. The conditions they are living in now are very different from the lives they used to lead and in some cases do not reach core humanitarian standards. Secondly, it has taken significant time and effort from ourselves and other volunteer organizations to build a good relationship with the Greek authorities to make it possible for volunteers to help out in refugee camps. This means that all volunteers must be respectful of any rules and regulations and always maintain a positive attitude.
Working as a volunteer is one of the most rewarding things you can do. This is true now more than ever, when news outlets and social media feeds are constantly bombarded with images of disaster and despair from all around the world. To be able to help, hands on, where thousands are suffering and witness the outcome of your efforts has a direct and positive impact and should be experienced by all. In return for their hard work, volunteers learn a multitude of skills and have their eyes opened to new experiences. The main thing our volunteers tell us, is that they are overwhelmed by the love, gratitude and hospitality they receive from the people in camp. It is very much a two-way learning experience.