"Even if I have a lot of homework I can manage it because I have teachers who would help me", was the statement of one of the beneficiaries when we asked her about her progress in school, since the educational actions of EXELIXI ZOIS began in the cooperative institution. "If it wasn't for the teachers, I wouldn't be able to move on." the 17-year-old beneficiary said, who comes from Congo, and has been supported with formal education courses, as she faced several adjusting difficulties, mainly because of the language.
We asked two beneficiary children to describe how they experienced this change and their experiences of the implemented programmes of the first year of Organisation's action.
"If it wasn’t for EXELIXI ZOIS, we wouldn’t have passed the exams for the First Certificate in English (Lower)” it was the first thing they told us enthusiastically; something which makes us feel extremely proud and happy, since it is a "tangible" example of the success of our intervention.
"My life became easier and fun. I do things I like, not things I don't like," one beneficiary continued, while the other was adding, "I can show my talent and where I'm good at."
The Organisation puts particular emphasis to Vocational Guidance and Counselling, since there is evidence that children living in Institutions are in an absence of vision and hope for the future.
An important part of the process of vocational guidance, in addition to assessing the competences and personality of the beneficiary, is the provision of information on the nature and requirements of specific studies and professions, which is confirmed by the young beneficiary "Eventually I managed to know what I want to do in the future and what I want to be".
One of main key pillars of our actions is the design of cultural programmes, through which the imagination and creativity of the beneficiaries is enhanced.
We enrich the children's programme with artistic activities and visits to cultural heritage sites, in the belief that the recruitment of global knowledge is essential for the development of children.
As the beneficiary told us, "If it weren’t for Exelixi Zois, I wouldn't know that all these exist and I have now something important inside me."
In addition, children's need for fun, entertainment and intake of different stimuli is equally important. One of the actions planned and implemented by EXELIXI ZOIS, was the summer excursion to Koroni and the surroundings, so that the children can get to know the beauties of the place, taste local dishes and enjoy moments of carefreeness.
Our girls confided that it was the first time they went on holiday in Greece and although these five (5) days may seem short holidays, for them it was an unprecedented experience they will never forget!
As all the above interventions are carried out with the aim of empowering and self-independence of the beneficiaries after the age of eighteen, the greatest confirmation of success is summarized in the following phrases of children, concerning the future. A future they can now face with greater optimism and hope. "I am looking forward to turning into 18 so EXELIXI ZOIS will help me find a job, move on and make it” one of the two beneficiaries says, while the other adds, "I want to go on with my studies, I want to leave the institution after high school and I need help to find a home."
EXELIXI ZOIS beneficiaries, 17 years old.