REFUGYM: RUN BY REFUGEES, FOR REFUGEES
Brittany is 27, from England and REFUGYM's Founder and Director.
She has been working in the humanitarian sector in refugee camps for three years, but has been based in Athens since November 2018 since the conception of REFUGYM.
Her main passion is to use REFUGYM as a platform for community engagement, creating safe spaces from which camp residents can access exercise, endorphins and escapism!
Mahdi is 25, from Afghanistan and REFUGYM's Community Liaison. He is single, whilst his family live in Iran.
Able to speak Farsi and English, he is the key point of contact between the camp community and REFUGYM, inviting people in his encouraging manner to attend or teach our sports classes.
Zohreh is 30, from Iran and REFUGYM's aerobics and volleyball teacher. She's here with her husband, whilst her only son is in Germany.
Zohreh taught volleyball in Iran and her love for sports has transcended borders. She is training our women's volleyball team to go from strength to strength, and her firm yet playful nature keeps us in check and in shape!
Rayhaneh is 22, from Afghanistan and REFUGYM's self defence teacher. She's here with her three sisters, brother and parents.
Rayhaneh teaches the teenage girls self defence; a difficult demographic to engage in sports. She teaches the camp's young women how to protect themselves, empowering them to be more assertive.
Hasib is 27, from Afghanistan and REFUGYM's volleyball coach. He is single, whilst his family live in other parts of Europe and some still in Afghanistan.
Hasib is a volleyball enthusiast and everyone loves to play with him - from the young boys he coaches, to the men he plays with competitively. We know when Hasib is in the REFUGYM building when Afghan music is blaring out!
A psychologist and trauma-informed yoga teacher, Sanaz is a Farsi-speaking Iranian immigrant.
Sanaz is the founder of The Alchemy of Trauma and has used her doctorate in psychology to gain extensive experience working as a therapist in differing communities. Sanaz runs trauma-informed programming with REFUGYM, offering yoga healing circles for refugees - titled "The Circle of Hope" - as well as resiliency training for humanitarian aid workers exploring secondary trauma and self-care.
Zahra is 38, from Afghanistan and REFUGYM's yoga teacher. She is here with her husband and three children. Zahra and her youngest son, Amir Ali, are inseparable!
Zahra took over from Sanaz in leading The Circle of Hope yoga sessions. Twice a week, she conducts therapeutic sessions for women on their yoga mats, asking thought-provoking questions which lead into a healing yoga class.
Roqia is 33, from Afghanistan and our Kung-Fu and aerobics teacher. She is here with her husband and daughter
Roqia offers Kung-Fu classes for young women ages 12 and above, teaching them the fundamental respect behind the martial art as well as swift moves to protect themselves. After women saw her knowledge and passion for sports, they asked her to also be their aerobics teacher!
Clara is 19 and a long-term returning volunteer with REFUGYM from the United States. She currently studies Philosophy and Spanish with a concentration in Immigrant Rights with the long-term goal to work as a human rights or immigration lawyer.
Photography and media savvy, Clara is still very active with REFUGYM as our Marketing and Media Specialist. She looks forward to returning to Greece in the near future.
Eilidh is a 21 year old recently graduated Physical Education teacher from Scotland.
After working in Greece last year creating a trauma informed sports program with Happy Caravan, she saw the potential for sport and physical activity to alleviate the post traumatic struggles of refugees.
She has added a children’s program to the fantastic adult program already in place.
Eilidh is currently working to provide young adult refugees in Greece with an EU recognised coaching qualification, giving them a significant step up into the EU job market as well as a great deal of hope and encouragement for the future, laying another brick in the foundations of a positive new life in Europe.
Eva is a 24 year old Master’s student and watersports instructor from Germany.
Eva uses her expertise in watersports to assist with swimming lessons, and she set up the stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and windsurfing excursions!
Working with REFUGYM allows her to combine her passion for watersports with her academic interest in humanitarian aid and sports for development. During her first (and certainly not last!) volunteer experience with REFUGYM, Eva is conducting research on the influence of sports on empowerment pathways in a camp setting for her Masters thesis.