Hi! I’m Rabar and I’m from Kurdistan of Iraq. I’m 27 years old and my favourite thing to do is to play football. When I was a teenager, I was a football player in a professional football club and my dream was to be a professional football player as an adult… but many barriers prevented me from realising my dream. Despite this, my motto is “NEVER GIVE UP”. I’ll continue to progress in my life and I’ll never look back with regret. Throughout all of the challenges I’ve faced, my mum has been my biggest supporter. In my spare time, I love to cycle, run, go to the gym, cook and take photos. 

My life at OCC

When I arrived to Greece and I was living in New Kavala Refugee Camp. After a while, I started to study English at OCC and after a few months I took the opportunity to be a volunteer. Before I knew it, I could speak English much better than before and in March 2019, I started as a volunteer. After 4 months, I had to leave Nea Kavala Camp as my family was placed in a house in another city in Greece. I was so upset and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to come back to Polykastro or work with OCC again. I missed my friends and colleagues so much while I was away. Luckily, after a few months, my coordinator called me to ask if I wanted to take part in a European Solidarity Corps Project at OCC. I was so excited to go back and work with the organisation again. I learned so many important lessons from my time working with OCC about different cultures, countries and people.  

My experience with OCC and ESC project

I’m working with groups of children, teaching them English and playing games with them. At first, it was a huge challenge for me because I hadn’t worked with children before. Now I’m so glad to have had this opportunity because teaching children has given me a real sense of responsibility and I have developed lots of new skills from this experience. I’m also responsible for the bus project at OCC which provides transport for our students from Nea Kavala Camp and the local village Axiopoli, to the OCC centre. 

I also work as a coordinator of sports activities for teenagers and adults, providing Psycho-Social Support through sports. I’m so happy because I love doing sports and helping people because the people we work with need a lot of support in order to overcome the trauma they have experienced. I also led three football championship for the people from Nea Kavala Camp, Polykastro and Axioupoli.  Another project I’m involved in is the Communication Team. We use social media to inform service users, supporters and donors about our projects and to generally inform our followers about the refugee crisis with weekly updates. In this role, I have vastly developed my written English, communication skills and confidence in using social media in a professional context. Also, I’m part of the logistic team where we fix items for service users and OCC itself. I was working in the cafeteria until recently – a place that provides a safe space for refugees to relax. This place was a hub for the community to exchange their experience with different cultures and languages.

My life in the apartment

Living in the apartment is really incredible because we are like one big family. We share everything including funny stories, skills and delicious recipes. Sometimes we have small problems because we come from very different cultures but we are learning to resolve these issues through clear communication and mutual respect. We do a lot of things together like exercising, cooking and playing cards. I’m sure that I’m going to miss them so much when I left the  apartment. To sum up, my life in Polykastro is wonderful! 

For the future

I don’t really know what my future holds because a lot of it is not in my control. It’s not easy to think about but I would like to continue helping  people and learn more from them. Also, I would love to study at university  in order to study business and maybe open one of my own someday. 

Rabar Bebanee, Volunteer with OCC Greece, funded by European Solidarity Corps


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