Support Refugee Camps in Greece with Cross-Cultural Solutions

Video and Photos

The van drops off volunteers at Ritsona Refugee camp
The van drops off volunteers at Ritsona Refugee camp
The van drops off volunteers at Ritsona Refugee camp
The van drops off volunteers at Ritsona Refugee camp
Vision Project at Refugee Camp
Vision Project at Refugee Camp
Distribution Center at Refugee Camp
Distribution Center at Refugee Camp
Child Friendly Space at Refugee Camp
Child Friendly Space at Refugee Camp
Children at Refugee Camp
Children at Refugee Camp
Greece Refugee Camp
Greece Refugee Camp


As of the beginning of 2017, over 62,000 refugees Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere​ are currently stranded in Greece, primarily at refugee camps that lack adequate housing, structure, and material goods for residents.

The greatest need the camps are currently facing is the management and distribution of crucial resources, such as water and clothing. CCS volunteers fill this need by funding, supplying and managing the distribution of milk, tea, hygiene items, clothing, and laundry services to all camp residents in a dignified, respectful, and equitable manner. Another significant challenge in the camps is simply a lack of activities and purpose for the residents.

The future is uncertain for these families, and restoring dignity and purpose in their daily lives is a crucial goal of this program. Bringing a sense of normalcy and routine in a chaotic and foreign environment is so valued, needed, and appreciated by residents. Join CCS Greece today and become a part of our team!

Questions & Answers

Hi Roxana, We do have programs for high school students, ages 14 to 18, in 5 locations around the world each summer. Please check out these schedules and our start dates/locations at… . In partnership, Cross-Cultural Solutions


based on 2 reviews
  • Impact 4
  • Support 4.5
  • Fun 5.5
  • Value 5.5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Way to Understand Refugee Situation Personally

I had been reading headlines about refugees for so many years, and finally the headlines stopped - but the refugees kept coming. When CCS announced its new program in Greece, volunteering inside a refugee camp, I immediately wanted to go. Because CCS wasn't yet permitted (?) as a nonprofit within Greece, it had to work in partnership with an existing NGO. You can go directly to that other NGO and volunteer, without paying anything, being responsible for your own room, board, and transport. But having volunteered with CCS in the past, I like the CCS approach of handling the main logistics while also giving cultural training every day. I wanted that. The cost for a week was about what I'd pay on my own for hotel, food, and transport. I thought it was a GREAT value. CCS's home base is in Chalkida, a resort town. The van takes you to the camp 30 min away every morning. So you get this lovely town to stroll morning and night, and working hard in the camp by day. It was our taste of Greek culture, after spending all day with mostly Syrians inside the camp.

Food was also a highlight, I should mention. During my volunteering, meals were in a mom-and-pop restaurant where we ate family style, each choosing whatever entree he/she wanted - fish, chicken, beef, vegetarian, really great Greek food. This was fun time with the other volunteers, sharing stories of the day or of lives back home. We were free to dine at any hour, but our group coalesced and chose to dine together.

Accommodations were in a basic hotel, unlike most of CCSs locations where you stay in a residence similar to how people in that country live. CCS is just getting started in Greece, so doesn't have a home base yet. The hotel had some advantages - it was cushy compared to sleeping in bunk beds and showing with a bucket, as I've done at other volunteer gigs. The whole thing was almost too much like a vacation, outside of camp hours, to feel like we were properly sacrificing in our volunteer work!

Now about the camp. A previous reviewer mentioned the rough situation with the licensed NGO partner. By the time I arrived, that relationship seems to have ended. CCS had fully taken over directly running a few aspects of the camp - the "distribution center" for clothes, water, and staples that are handed out daily on a regular schedule, and the laundry room. Unlike most other CCS gigs, this one had little opportunity for working closely one-on-one with refugees; our work was mostly transactional, helping them at the "check out" counter when they selected clothes with their monthly points from the boutique (like a second-hand clothing shop). But I had the feeling if I stayed longer than a week, I could get to know some of the residents and understand more about the life of a refugee. Little separates us from them - they had the bad misfortune to live in a country that was falling apart, and had to flee for their lives, often without family members who were killed in the conflict. It was heart-wrenching, yet heart-warming, to see the humanitarian support and know that at least they are physically safe, and on a path to progress.

As with many CCS programs, volunteers are given some good cultural training, as in "here's what to expect and how you can be a good volunteer", but not a lot if time is left for training for the particular task. Volunteers have to sort of work it out on the fly. I felt that we could have done a much better job with the boutique had we stayed another week or two, to improve the process and make it even more smooth and friendly for the residents.

The unruly and borderline dangerous pack of "naughty" kids were mentioned by a previous reviewer made their appearance during my stint as well five months later in January 2018, about 5 ten-year old boys with mischief on their minds. There are safeguards, but indeed we learned to keep eyes out for those guys and not give them free access to the boutique etc. Yet this too was a real part of the refugee experience. What had these kids seen in their short lives? Could the camp and NGO efforts begin to reform them? It was great to see a daily soccer game breakout full of seemingly all ages and nationalities, good cooperation and sportsmanship while I watched. I did miss seeing any girls join in though. The camp is keeping people fed and safe from bombs. But there is room for more humanitarian help as they anxiously wait a year or more to hear if any nation will grant them asylum.

Another benefit of CCS is that they generally work with you to give you the experience you seek. I was assigned to the boutique/distribution center, but after a few days, felt I wanted to experience other parts of the camp. So I was allowed to spend a day at the laundry, and a day in a totally different camp doing vision testing for kids. This enriched and filled out my picture of refugee life, thanks to CCS staff efforts to work with me. Much appreciated.

I loved my experience volunteering with CCS at the Ritsona camp in Greece. And I treasure the CCS values of doing no harm, and connecting on a human level, when volunteering. And what a great geographical launching point for adding on travel days afterwards! Several of the volunteers did Athens and Meteora and enjoyed each other's company in the off hours.

What would you improve about this program?
As with all short-term volunteer gigs, keep improving the baton-pass so there is continuity from one set of volunteers to another. So that what is learned is passed on, and each group isn't starting from scratch. I thought the general logistics, food, lodging, and staff were all great.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

No Support

I have gone rhrough multiple progams with ccs. They do have high turnover off young staff to help you prepare i have had good and really inept. I had problems with accounting. Many do be careful and diligent with kepping track. Their records did not match and i had to find discremency they refused and would not send me transacrion reciept. I always had a great time in country but decided not to use them anymore. Then i saw advertisement about refugee program in greece. I did not fundraise but paid to not deal with thier accounting. Found out no longer non profit. Other group of teachers had trouble because of this. We were at two camps and working with two ngos. One was very disorganized and had issues. I was with them at the children's dummer camp. It was extremely unsafe due to lack of structure and philosophy of lighthouse(ngo running it) rocks were being thrown fighting and adults and children getting hit. This behavior eas fostered there. I an another special ed teacher voiced our concerns. Bothing happenned i have over 20 years experience working with children, in schools, residential facilities and psychiatric hospitals. This enviornment was just so negative and hurtful to the children. We had a morning meeting to voice our concerns so many wrre about this problem. Nothing was done i was injured four days later. I spent almost a week laid up in bed. I did go back but worked with I Am You. Same boys who injuref me were in the english classes but luckily behavior was not generaluzed and it was a safe enviornment. The fridsy before i left volunteers were hurt again and had to lock themselves in an isobox fearing for their safety. This is not the first time. I had to do it too when i was at the summer camp. My first doctor appointment and mri someone from ccs came with me. My last three i haf to go by myself and pay for transportation. I did get upset with a program leader who is in charge of greece telling her I cannot believe you are not comimg to help me when it is due to your negligence. She said not ccs but lighthouse. So i do not know why we spend that all that extra money having ccs support us when they clearly don't. I have been hurt before but it was never due to an unsafe environment. i do not know if they choose to do nothing because they cant afford to lose money and are trying to make it but they allowed harm to be done to the tesidents of the refugee camp and volunteers. .

What would you improve about this program?
They can actually listen and support their volunteets. Also you can save money and work directly with i am you. They do like a rwo month commitment though.


61 F / 27 F
88 F / 41 F
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If pastitsio and gyros aren't enough of a reason for you to go to Greece; then the stunningly blue waters, the medieval cities, and picturesque white houses with blue roofs should do the trick. Every island has a different vibe and will be well suited for a variety of travelers.

About Cross-Cultural Solutions

For 22 years, CCS has been the standard setter for the safest, most meaningful, and enriching volunteer abroad programs while striving to be a global leader in child development and women's empowerment. Since 1995, over 35,000 people have volunteered...