Puppets for Refugees 1
Last spring – I met up with my very good friend Naomi after she’d just got back from Athens. She’d been there 3 months working with refugees, helping set up internet and told me how much it would benefit the kids there by having the likes of me running puppet making activities with them. We had this conversation some six months ago. Today, I’m in Athens – I’ve been here a few days and I’ve already run my first workshop and made several connections and arrangements to run more.
Naomi is continuing to work with refugees and has a crowd funding campaign to provide free tools to improve their living standards. You can read about and support her campaign here: Handyperson Packs for Refugees
How did I get here? – I set up a crowd funding cause with Just Giving at the end of August and set out to raise £500. Within 24 hours I’d reached half my target – in the end I’d raised nearly £800! Most of my promoting was posting and sharing on Facebook. I was overwhelmed by the response. Not only the generous donations but the kind and encouraging words of support. Everyone I spoke to was behind me – family, friends, colleagues and new people I met. Before I knew it, I’d booked my flight and was flapping about which puppets to take
Details of my crowd funding cause can be found here: www.justgiving.com
What am I doing here? – Puppet-making/playing and possibly mural-painting: with children: shadow puppetry and other low/zero budget activities. My first few days have been spent visiting various squats in the city that are hosting refugees coming in from the camps. I’m looking into doing sessions at the various places: negotiating with refugees and the organisers what we’ll do…
My first workshop – I ran my first workshop on my second day here! We found some card, a few sticks and markers and kids made puppets that said, “Hello” in English, Arabic and Greek. It was very lively but just look at what we did!
Getting acquainted – I’m staying in Exarcheia, which is an incredibly vibrant and happening place – Right up my street! Getting around on foot mostly, occasionally getting lost and finding my way back to the square (which is really a triangle)
I’ve met up with friends of friends who are putting me in touch with people I could collaborate with and introducing me to local puppets, like poor old Karagiozis who I look forward to seeing soon
Out and About – Holding Tail with Mouth – Was a hands-on Dada workshop at the Athens Museum of Queer Arts where we rummaged round a table of random tat and assembled our creations, made cut & paste verse, and shared our silly things. I made this ‘rubbish revolutionary’. Not a million miles from being at a Rubbish Puppet workshop