OUR EVENTS & PROGRAMS
Every Tuesday we open our doors and welcome about 130 refugee friends. As they come in, they can choose clothing or shoes if they need them. Then they can sit for the meal: Greek salad, main dish cooked their own way, and fruit.
After everyone has eaten, we invite the refugees who want to learn about Jesus to stay, while the others are free to leave. Every time a good number of refugees stay and listen to the evangelistic message. Then they have the opportunity to discuss it over a cup of tea.
During the meal time, the refugees may relax, play games and talk with our team about their struggles. Very often they ask questions about Jesus and then we have the opportunity to talk to them about the love and grace of God.
When we finish cleaning for the day, the team and the volunteers gather to talk about how the day went, how we saw God working among the refugees and us, etc.
We close our day by praying for those served.
Language lessons are being offered according to needs and demand. They begin when refugees that live in Athens want to learn Greek or English.
In addition, we organise Bible studies for both men and women, as well as lessons regarding cultural integration and special skills classes.
We are in need of volunteers that can spare some time to teach Greek or English to refugees and various teaching supplies.
Summer Program for men and families
We assist with a summer program for families and for men that Hellenic Ministries operates and organizes each summer. It’s a blessing to serve with them and other local organizations each June. The participant refugees / immigrants have the opportunity to spend a week at a safe environment where they can play games, swim, as well as attend Bible lessons, thus learning about Jesus and the salvation He offers.
God had given us much encouragement throughout the years. We have witnessed many people arriving at a point of believing and praying for salvation.
Children’s Camp at Kalamos
With many believers’ prayers, support, and the cooperation of Greek Evangelical Church Camp, every year we send approximately 20-30 refugee children to Kalamos, Attiki. Three weeks at a Christian camp is the best thing for these children! They learn about God, make Greek friends, play together and learn the Greek language even better! This is what some parents have told us: “Never would we have allowed our children to go somewhere without us. Thank you so much for having them! It was the first time we could spend some time alone as a couple”. “When will you do a camp for parents?”
We believe that Christmas is a unique opportunity for our Muslim friends to hear the message of Jesus and understand the reason for His coming to earth. Members of our team and volunteers act out the events that took place the night that Jesus was born.
In cooperation with local churches, every December we organise 4-5 Christmas programs and invite approximately 150 people to each one. Hundreds of refugees (men, women and children) have the unique chance to listen to the Christmas story through hymns, teaching and personal testimonies from refugees that have believed in Jesus Christ.
At the end of each program, we offer each refugee a present, a package filled with useful, everyday necessities and the Gospel of Luke.
Two cosmic events… the birth of Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection; these are great opportunities to talk to refugees about Jesus.
They are coming from countries where they could not hear about Jesus and entering countries where they can encounter for the first time the truth of a new faith which leads to eternal life.
Most of these refugees are no longer in Greece. They have moved on to other European countries, but the message of salvation went with them.
We are truly blessed to be able to say that we have not one but two buildings dedicated to our cause: A refugee center and a training center.
Our Refugee Center was the first one we acquired through purchasing in 1994 and located at Sofokleous 53D in Athens.
In October 2016, God answered our two year long prayers of more space for our ministry in the form of a letter: Dr. John Pappas’ family had decided to donate to Helping Hands a whole floor of 2260 ft. at the 5th floor of a building.
In November 2018, after a whole year of renovation and paperwork, we officially started running our Training Center at Eolou 94 in Athens.
Since then, every Friday, our center is open for everyone. A lot of refugees come to meet other refugees to drink tea together, wash their clothes, take any clothes they might need, shoes etc., to play games. They also have the opportunity to watch the film “Jesus”, to ask for a Bible and, if they wish it, to talk with us about Jesus Christ.
In addition to inviting them to our center, we visit them at the camp sites and their homes, as well as accompany them to hospitals, school registrations and other appointments (for health & legal purposes)
Thursdays are special days for refugee men. They deeply appreciate this day.
They can come to our center to take a shower, shave, take donated clothes or wash their own, eat a warm meal and drink tea while hanging out with other refugees.
This day we are given the time and the opportunity to answer any questions about who Jesus is and how His blood cleanses us and saves us for all eternity.
WOMEN & CHILDREN'S MINISTRY
Wednesdays are very special days for women and children.
It’s the day where children can play, everyone will enjoy a hot shower and eat a delicious meal. They all get the chance to listen to a message about Jesus. Women can relax in a safe environment while their children are playing, and enjoy their time conversing with other refugee women, as well as women from our team. They can also wash their clothes and some of them can mend their clothes using our sewing machines.
What stands out during Wednesday’s ministry is the fact that women feel safe to ask questions, about Jesus and listen to the scriptural lesson of the day.
With a lot of love, patience and faithfulness, our team’s women invest in the refugee families with whom they connect. They visit them in their own space in order to understand how they can best help them. They listen to their problems attentively. They invite them to their homes. They escort them to hospitals or the Police when needed. They study the Holy Scripture together. They cultivate friendship and trust, something that they are very much in need of.
Apart from the care we offer to the women and children during meals, there is also a special program for their needs. Our goal is to help with their material, psychological, social and spiritual needs.
Within a warm and caring environment, we offer food to mothers and rich nutrition to children, unlike the poor quality food they usually have. At the same time, we offer them the chance to take a shower and help themselves to clothes. Through these various activities, we take the opportunity to show them God’s love in a practical way.
Omorfies / Beauty Program
Α Skills Program for Refugee Women
We meet once a week for 5 months, allowing for 20 weekly sessions, planning on 2 groups per year. Each week they attend, the women are given food vouchers to local supermarkets as their incentive/award for their hard work.
Through this program, we want to equip women with the ability and knowledge to create a variety of simple crafts, as well as help them develop and reinforce necessary qualities for employment, such as reliability, attendance and punctuality. Our hope is that they will use this knowledge to earn an income in the future, whether in Greece or elsewhere.
Sewing, Advanced hand-stitching (beadwork & embroidery), Jewellery, Wax works & Crafts.
We at Helping Hands pursue avenues for selling the products made by the women in the class through various churches or organisations and 100% of the proceeds are reinvested into the skills program. Upon graduation, we would like to equip each woman with the supplies to continue her new skills at home.