CRIBS International is a UK registered charity providing homes in Greece for pregnant refugee women and families with new babies. CRIBS rents, furnishes and pays the bills for apartments so that women and their families are able to have a place to call their own and a quiet space to recover, close to medical facilities. Few things can restore dignity to a refugee family like the ability to close their own front door on a flat with walls, a ceiling, a private bathroom and a kitchen.
Where is it?
Athens and Rafina, Greece
What will I be doing?
As a core activity, Cribs International provides housing for women and their families who are pregnant or who have a baby under 12 months. They also support women through their pregnancy, birthing and post-natal period. This covers all aspects of assistance from medical support and signposting, accompanying to hospital and clinic appointments, advocacy, breastfeeding education and allied work. They encourage families to develop language and employment skills. Some work is direct teaching and advice or can be directing families to classes. They aim for supported women to become independent and autonomous so that when they leave CRIBS they are ready to cope with life. All the flats are in old buildings so some work is around maintaining properties, repairs and decorating. This would suit shorter-term volunteers. In addition, they run a free shop which collects and distributes clothes, maternity and baby items and household goods. Volunteers in the free shop will arrange for collection of donations in Athens from local people, receive parcels, sort and prepare donations. You will be involved in distribution sessions to families housed by CRIBS and other women and children who we do not house. Distribution carried out safely, fairly and with dignity is their aim. It is not possible to say completely what you will be doing as, with all people, life is unpredictable, so they ask volunteers to be flexible.
What impact would I have?
Many of the women are single parents and are isolated from their own cultural history of birthing and parenting. Your work will help women with humour, knowledge and support to reduce isolation and help to create a place to have time to begin to bring up their child safely and with knowledge. Working in the Free Shop will ensure that families have access to clothes, baby items and household goods in a fair and dignified manner. By advocating in hospitals, women will be able to communicate better with medical staff, make it more likely they will receive the care they are entitled to and need as well as understand the systems they are negotiating. Through signposting and teaching you will enable women to become independent and increase their knowledge and better outcomes for themselves and their families. Through helping solve disputes between those in shared flats, you will enable children to grow in a safe and happy environment and help adults develop problem-solving skills. If you are a practical person, repairs and maintenance of housing will ensure families have a decent, clean and safe place to live.
Who will I be working with?
In Athens, there is currently a coordinator who works closely alongside a medical / casework focussed volunteer and a shop manager. They have a small group of four Athens residents who volunteer in the Free Shop and assist with the collection and management of donations for us.
CRIBS will advise and assis