Redefining Education for Displaced Young People

Education represents a powerful antidote to environments that deprive people of their ability to feel in control. Learning offers space to make choices, to re-assert control over something internal. Education, when it works, offers a space that promotes ownership over the lifelong project of constructing the self. It is a daily opportunity for a series of little victories when days are otherwise defined by loss. 

Since 2017, Better Days has played a central role in the provision of quality education for displaced young people in Greece. Early on in our work, we saw the challenges that offering cross-cultural education posed for local teachers and schools. We have since mobilised non-traditional and alternative teaching methodologies to address critical gaps and elevate the level of education provided to young people on the move. This page provides an overview of our education-based projects.

Educational Projects

June 2023-Present

A non-formal educational centre (NFE) located in the heart of Athens, Gekko builds on the educational model developed for Gekko on Lesvos (see below) by integrating personalised educational plans and counselling support services. Students work with an experienced team of teachers to develop their capabilities and realise key objectives. Through close guidance, we come to understand and support our students in setting realistic and achievable educational and personal goals. We emphasise pathways to accreditation in order to expand students’ academic and career prospects. Gekko in Athens offers a safe, trauma-aware learning environment for over 100 young people (15-24-year-olds) to offload their troubles and fight for their dreams.

Gekko Kids, Lesvos


Gekko on Lesvos was an NFE located in Mytilene offering alternative models of education in a trauma-aware environment for unaccompanied and separated children. To achieve the project’s mission, we had the invaluable support of local implementing partners including Connect by Music, Iliaktida AMKE, Refugee Education & Learning International, the Blossomly Project, and the Light Space. Gekko would not have been possible without the longstanding financial support of the Le Rosey Foundation and Choose Love. In 2021, Gekko was selected by the 5th Global Entreps Awards Committee from among 5000 candidates in 126 territories as one of the 100 Best Practices in the world on Sustainability (UN SDGs), Innovation and/or Good Governance. Global jurors highlighted Gekko’s mission to improve conditions for displaced and disadvantaged children and asylum seeking people in Lesvos, combined with quality education, as unique in the world.

Socrates, Lesvos


Socrates was Gekko’s sports development project for unaccompanied minors. We used football as a form of social education, teaching technical and life skills through play and social-emotional learning (SEL). The project was made possible with implementing support from Athlead and funding from MediaPro and La Liga. Socrates programming was suspended after the outbreak of Covid-19. 

EcoHub, Lesvos


EcoHub was an environmental education and ecotherapy project focusing on the creation of human-centred spaces that nurture, inspire, and raise environmental awareness. The project was handed over to our partner, Sporos Regeneration Institute, in late 2020. EcoHub was awarded the 2020 Permaculture Magazine and Youth in Permaculture Prize.

Gekko X, Lesvos


Gekko X provided science, technology, engineering, and arts (STEAM) programming to unaccompanied and separated migrant children. Topics included photography, robotics, theatre, and 3D printing. The Gekko X space included an IT cluster enabling students to access courses online via Coursera and to prepare for the ECDL exams. The project was suspended following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Tapuat, Lesvos


Tapuat was a child and family support hub providing NFE and mental health support for children and mothers experiencing displacement. Tapuat was implemented in partnership with a local actor and with funding from UNICEF. Better Days was integral in the design and development of the project, particularly in creating the space and NFE curriculum for children ages 6-18. The project was handed over to the local partner in 2019.