Q: Who can volunteer?
A: Anyone who is at least 24 years of age, can commit to a minimum of four weeks and has the ability to pass a criminal background check is eligible and encouraged to apply. Must speak English. Must have experience with children. Priority is given to refugees, credentialed teachers, art therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, social work professionals, 1:1 behavioral aides, sports coaches, group home staff, foster parents and those with:
- Trauma informed care knowledge and experience, though online and in person training and 24 hour support will be provided
- Refugee camp experience
- Nature based education experience (permaculture, forest kindergartens, etc
- Arabic or other relevant language skills
Q: What is expected of a volunteer?
- Flexibility is incredibly important as conditions and needs change daily or even hourly.
- Commitment to Schoolbox values and to constant improvement
- Good boundary setting
- High level communication skills
Q: What will I be doing?
A: Teaching, supporting teachers, crafting, creating, PLAYING, shopping, sorting, cleaning, and "other duties as assigned." There is a lot of room for sharing your unique skill set and we are here to support and develop your idea. Our lessons and activities are less important than providing a gentle daily rhythm, a stable environment and a group of loving volunteers who stay calm and regulated in a difficult situation, no matter what.
Q: Is it safe?
A: In general, you will most likely feel safe during your time as a volunteer. However, there are MANY factors that make life in refugee camps unpredictable. Riots and unorganized distributions can put the safety of volunteers and residents at risk. Best practices in the camp when it comes to distribution and other activities are in place to protect you. Following the code of conduct, guidance and advice of your team and supervisors will help to reduce risks for all.
Q: Do I need an international driver's license?
A: If you have an EU passport, you do not need one.
If you have a non-EU passports technically you must have an international driver’s licence to rent or drive a car in Greece. This is often not enforced, but when it is, it comes with a big fine!
Q: Do I need any shots or vaccinations before I come?
A: No. It is a good idea to make sure you are up to date with your basic vaccinations, including tetanus and hepatitis.
Q: Can I drink the water there?
A: Yes. Tap water is safe to drink here. It's good to try to minimize use of plastic bottles. The environmental impact of this crisis is severe.
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes and no. Many Greeks you meet will have some basic English, and many are fluent. Likewise for many refugees. However, if you can learn even a little bit of Greek, Arabic or Farsi, it will go a long way and will be very appreciated. Remember, "it's never about technique, it's always about relationship."
Q: Do you cover travel or other expenses?
A: The work is voluntary. Volunteers pay for their own flights and meals during your stay. The Schoolbox Project does sponsor volunteers with by providing transport and with reduced rates for accommodation.
Q: What should I bring for myself?
A: Insect repellant and after-bite products (spring/summer); Weather appropriate clothing (check the forecast before you arrive). You don't need bedding. There are laundry facilities at LM which are sometimes available for volunteers to use, but volunteers should be prepared to wash clothes by hand in the hotel. There is some WiFi on site at LM.
Q: What should I bring for the residents?
A: If you are interested in bringing supplies with you, that’s great! If so, please contact the volunteer coordinator to get the current list of items needed.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Casual, practical clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty or messy. Clothing must be modest, as a show of cultural sensitivity (no bare shoulders, no short shorts or skirts). You may need a rain jacket/waterproofs, layers, sturdy, comfortable shoes. Think outdoorsy, functional, athletic, comfortable.
Q: What are my roles and responsibilities?
A: Flexibility is everything. Volunteers are required to adjust to different needs and requirements as they arise. Commonly provided sessions include: arts and craft, sports, dance, music, play, informal education i.e. Math and English. Find more information about a typical day HERE.
Q: What happens when I arrive?
A: The coordinators will have arranged your room, and once you email them with your ETA they will explain the check-in process. You will have orientation on your first day at 9am. This is when you'll have a chance to ask any questions you may have.
Q: Will I have days or time off?
A: Taking time for yourself is mandatory! Self-care is a very important requirement of your placement. The work at LM can be intense as there are six hours of teaching per day. All volunteers have at least a one hour break every day and normally, volunteers will participate in sessions for between 4 – 5 hours per day and lead 1 or 2 sessions per day. With the support of your directors, volunteers are required to do all necessary planning, organizing and preparation for the sessions that they lead.
However, volunteer preferences will always be taken into consideration, and you will never be expected to do something that you aren't comfortable with. If you feel tired or have any concerns, then please communicate to your directors. They are here to support you.
A typical day can start at around 10.30/ 11 am for the daily team meeting and you might not get home until 10/11 pm, after activities conclude on camp.
Q: What about meals?
A: Volunteers often do the shopping together and split the price between the group, this works out at between 15 EUR – 20 EUR per week, this is not mandatory and volunteers don't have to participate. There are sometimes cooking facilities available at LM, and so volunteers cook lunch and dinner together on camp during some days. Flexibility is so important here, as sometimes volunteers don’t have access to cooking facilities on camp and so have to be prepared to buy something from the supermarket/ eat out. When this is the case, costs for food will be higher.
Breakfast is prepared at the accommodation, there is a small kitchenette in each room complete with a fridge. Alternatively, there are many bakeries in the surrounding area.
Killini has many restaurants and so volunteers are also able to eat out. Realistically, the most this normally happens is about twice a week, because of the busy schedule. A basic meal (starter, main and a drink) would cost around 10 EUR.
Q: What is the local area like?
A: LM Village is a coastal resort in a rural part of eastern Greece, right next to the beach. It is a very isolated camp and is at least a 30minute walk, or 15 minute bike ride, to the nearest small town. SBX is the only organization that offers services and activities for the residents - this is one of the reasons why our services are such crucial lifeline for residents.
Volunteers should also be aware that there are many stray dogs on camp.
Volunteers stay in accommodation in Killini, which is a small port town. LM is a short drive away and SBX provides a car and petrol for this purpose. Killini has all of the basic necessities that volunteers may need; supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, ATM machines etc.
Please note: Volunteers have to organize and pay for their own transportation when they arrive and depart from Killini – there are no exceptions to this rule.
Q: How do I get there?
A: There are a couple of different options. You can fly into Kefalonia or Zayknthos and get the ferry to Kylinni. OR, fly to Athens and from there, take the bus (KTEL) from the Kifissou Bus Station in Athens to either Lechaina – NOT Andravida. (The final destination of this bus is the town of Pyrgos).
OR, if possible it is better to get a bus to Kefalonia or Zayknthos, from the same station in Athens. The bus to Kefalonia/Zayknthos is better and works out cheaper, as it drops you off in Kyllini port, but make sure to say you are going to Kyllini! It takes approximately 4.5 hours and should cost about €50 return.
If you get the bus to Lechania you will need to get a taxi to the hotel. There is a taxi rank at Lechaina station, so it's easy to find. For a cheaper taxi at Lechaina, call +306932930019 (approximately 15 euros).
The times of the buses are subject to change and run about every two hours:
09.00 / 11.00 / 13.00 / 15.00 / 17.00 / 19.00 / 22.00**
**Times in green are ideal and strongly encouraged. The evening busses aren't advised and should only be taken in exceptional circumstances.
Q: I would like to do some fundraising for SBX. How do I send donations?
A: We are always very grateful for any donations!
Q: How do I obtain a criminal background check?
A: We have volunteers from all over the world so it’s impossible to keep a comprehensive list of the process for each country. Normally, volunteers can apply to their government or local police station or apply via an online agency that will request the background check on your behalf. Examples:
DBS (previously known as CRB) if already obtained via another organization. Please Note: We cannot apply for the DBS on your behalf. If you need to request a new background check, you can apply for a Basic Disclosure yourself instead.
Washington State Patrol WATCH (Washington Access to Criminal History)
State of California Department of Justice IntelliCorp
Colorado Bureau of Investigation (Dept. of Public Safety) SentryLink
Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC)
Ministerio de Justicia
Dienst Justis, Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie
Republique Francaise Ministere de la Justice, Direction des Affaires criminelles et des graces (DACG)
Q: The AHA Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED course is not available in my area. What should I do?
A: This is only one example of an appropriate course. You can take an equivalent course that is available in your area. Any course should include pediatric first aid, CPR and AED. Online courses are available for those who come from an area where this may not be available.
Q: Who covers the costs of flights, food, accommodation and the volunteer documentation (incl. background check and first aid course)?
A: The Schoolbox Project is an all-volunteer run organization, and so we require all of our volunteers to be self-funded.
Q: Can I take photographs of the residents?
A: We have a strict no-photo policy. This means that we do not take photos, and our volunteers cannot take photos, even with the permission of all individuals involved. This is a fundamental part of the care we provide.
Q: Will my phone work?
A: Most of our communication is done through Whatsapp. Some volunteers choose to purchase an international plan for the duration of their stay. Some bring an unlocked phone and purchase a Greek sim card with data. This can be purchased in Chalkida or at the airport in Athens.
Q: I still have questions. Who should I contact?
A: Please get in touch with our volunteer coordination team HERE.