Celebrating 3 Years
This month we are marking three years since we founded RTI- three years since we arrived at the camp in Idomeni as a group of volunteers equipped with a little more than a wealth of experience, a tent and the determination to give vitally needed psychological support to the thousands stranded there: men, women and children struggling to address past experiences, support their families and cope with continuing adversity, instability and indignity.
Since then, we have supported over 4000 refugees and designed sustainable programmes that will help us reach thousands more. We have offered long-term support to more than 800 children and helped their parents to confront difficult experiences by providing respite, space for self-expression, a sense of value and a community. We have helped hundreds of aid workers and volunteers to be resilient and healthy through practices that promote self-awareness and peer support. We have set up creative projects and community activities for hundreds of young people, and helped build a youth community in Greece that supports the transition to adulthood and promotes diversity and social inclusion.
Underlying all these activities is the same guiding principle- that we foster resilience and help people to address trauma and lead happier lives by creating safe, supportive spaces and building on positive, secure relationships. Over the years, we have worked with dozens of experts, including psychologists, social workers, mindfulness specialists, drama therapists, leaders in early childhood and many others; their collective expertise and our on-the-ground experience in Greece has led us to this point.
As we enter our fourth year, the crisis continues to present new and different challenges. Camps continue to be vastly overcrowded, some housing more than six times their intended capacity. In towns and cities, many refugees are now faced with eviction and homelessness, as the government seeks to make space for others deemed more vulnerable. A lack of access to health and education services places thousands at heightened risk of serious mental health issues and severe social isolation.
RTI is now working hard to expand its programmes to meet the needs of more refugees. Our Baytna project will roll out to a national network of partner centres, the Baytna Hubs, ensuring high-quality early years education and support for hundreds more young children and families. Our Dinami programme is providing vital respite and support to hundreds of young people through sport, the arts, learning and community activities- this year we are placing a special emphasis on providing access to young refugees living in camps and other remote locations where isolation and social exclusion are most keenly felt.
We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far, and hugely grateful to all the friends, supporters and partners that have helped us to get here.