Greek Council for Refugees

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Greek Council for Refugees: Improvisational Theatre for the Integration of Refugees in Greece

Athens, GreeceAthens, Greece
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Improvisational Theatre provides tools to refugees who deal with extremely difficult experiences in their everyday life in order to face these issues and integrate into society with confidence and pride by saying yes to their own voice, paving the way to a more active role in their life and society.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if refugees were empowered to address their basic needs on their own, rather than be passive subjects of philanthropy?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Refugees arriving in Greece face a range of obstacles. The risk of indefinite detention, the weak access to the asylum procedure, the severely worrisome incidents of racist violence, the difficulty of being exposed to social and financial problems throughout their stay in Greece due to the economic crisis, on top of the physical or psychological traumas from their home country pose grave obstacles to their ability to integrate into Greek society.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

PYXIDA Multicultural Centre, operating within the Greek Council for Refugees’ (GCR) offices, provides interactive support that surpasses the provision of services, with a bottom-up approach, by providing interactive educational activities that aim towards the empowerment and integration of refugees into Greek society. Improvisational Theatre provides a supplementary tool ensuring that each individual participating in this initiative will be ready to tackle life with confidence, eliminating the fear that comes from the uncertain and unstable daily life that many refugees face, while also providing an opportunity to raise awareness amongst the greater public on the issues they face, as well as the benefits of a multicultural society.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Here is the text for the Improvisational Theatre Seminars: “Improvisational Theatre means SPONTANEITY, GAME, LAUGHTER and ENJOYMENT of FAILURE! Through it, we aim to discover the untold possibilities of our imagination and creativity, teaching ourselves to think and try less. We learn to not fear failure, and to take more risks, to support the person next to us who is also learning to take risks. We build trust, we learn to lose control and live in the moment, instead of being afraid of the result of our actions. These seminars will enable our ability to adapt to unexpected stimuli and to take risks not only on stage, but in everyday life! We look forward to seeing the rhythm of the spontaneity of the child within you!”

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Improvisational Theatre seminars ensure that individuals from a most vulnerable group of society, who have had to, and continue to deal with extremely difficult everyday lives and experiences are provided with the tools necessary in order to face these issues and integrate into society with confidence and pride. While GCR services provide support in managing the practical details of their integration, these seminars will support the intangible issues impeding their integration. Our experience and the results of prior theatrical seminars have highlighted their significance. While enjoying the experience, at least 20 participants from prior theatrical seminars have begun to actively support PYXIDA and other organisations as volunteers; they participate more actively in associations and events, gaining a confident voice not only in relation to their own lives,but that of society as a whole.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The seminars provide tools to refugees who do not yet have the possibility or support in spontaneously expressing themselves in everyday life, since they are seen as ‘foreign’ and therefore self-determined as such within society.The seminars will support them in saying yes to their own voice,paving the way to a more active role in their life and society.NGOs’ advocating for refugee &migrant rights tend to do this for rather than with them.This scheme will therefore enhance and strengthen advocacy efforts &can easily be replicated in GCR Thessaloniki branch, as well as other NGOs'.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

This Project is realised within the framework of PYXIDA which has been operating for over a decade.Due to the in depth &holistic activities provided on a daily basis,we have succeeded in maintaining a steady source of funding which ensuring that basic needs are met.However, our aim is to ensure a steady source of funding for such unique,supplementary projects which aim towards the attainment and promotion of a healthy multicultural society.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

While there has been a recent increase in theatre productions that touch upon and raise awareness on refugees and migrants rights, there are none so far that are inclusive to this population, as active members of the production, in a bottom up approach. Furthermore, seminars in Improvisational Theatre, while also on the increase, are not targeted to the issues faced by this specific group in society. Consequently, both the methodology, as well as the content that we propose, is something both unique and substantially effective towards refugees’ integration into Greek society.

Founding Story

It never ceases to surprise us that Ms. Brisimi, 95 years old, still advocates for the rights of refugees. She is the visionary who 25 years ago created the first NGO in Greece where the interaction between refugees and Greek society as a two-way process, essential for their effective integration into society, became a reality. GCR’s approach to integration is guided by the principle of multiculturalism that advocates for the maintenance of a balance between the development of activities aimed at facilitating refugees to integrate to the local culture and their simultaneous encouragement to highlight their own culture and share it with Greek society by respectively developing the principles of mutual respect and diversity understanding.


PYXIDA is staffed by three social workers with perennial experience in the field, but also in three complimentary subjects related to empowerment and integration of vulnerable groups into society. This team is led by the Coordinator of the Social Unit, and further supported by energetic, loyal and talented volunteers comprised of a magnitude of ages, nationalities, interests and professions.