Traditionally, Greeks considered hospitality to be a holy relationship of welcome and friendship and thought of guests as something sacred and revered, protected by “Zeus Xenios”. As hosts, they would welcome their guests into their homes with good will and look after their needs and entertainment. Similarly, the social networking platform XENIUSnet extends a welcoming hand to young refugees and immigrants. It aims to create a student community that will support any formal or informal education received by newly arrived refugees in Greece, and also speed up and improve their socialisation process. The platform provides a collaborative environment in which refugees and immigrants register as “mentees” and can submit questions relating to any one of four categories: language, mathematics, natural sciences, history/Greek civilisation. Greek student volunteers take on the role of “mentor” and are the ones responsible for replying to the questions and/or suggesting appropriate educational material. In order to ensure that high standards are maintained throughout the process, XENIUSnet also uses volunteer teachers as “moderators” who provide academic guidance and check all exchanges between mentor and mentee for accuracy and correctness. In addition, XENIUSnet enables the accumulation of educational content in the form of a general library available to all users, as well as a personal library created by each user in his or her own digital work place.
The aim of the platform is to offer personalised educational support to young immigrants and refugees, while simultaneously giving Greek students and teachers the opportunity to volunteer without the need to be physically present somewhere.
There is no limit to how many students can collaborate on XENIUSnet. Its team of founders gives particular emphasis on creating a solid base of cooperation, building and maintaining ties, and developing a sense of community. Even though the idea was conceived in Greece, the platform can be used to support the creation of communities of students helping each other around the world, and to assist in the social integration of newly arrived refugees in any given country.
XENIUSnet was one of the 22 finalists – out of 500 submissions from all UN countries – for the World Summit Awards (WSA) 2017. This is an international competition of innovation and social entrepreneurship for anyone under 30 years of age who has developed a digital application in support of the UN’s sustainable development goals.
You can visit the platform XENIUSnet here.